Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Love & Mercy

Magazine article U.S. Catholic

Love & Mercy

Article excerpt

LOVE & MERCY

Directed by Bill Pohlad (Battle Mountain Films, 2015)

Brian Wilson was a gifted yet troubled songwriter. In Love & Mercy, Bill Pohlad explores two critical periods in Wilson's life: the mid '60s, when Wilson produced the Beach Boys' highly regarded Pet Sounds, and the '80s, when Wilson was under the influence of therapist Eugene Landry (Paul Giamatti). In the film, Pohlad courageously departs from conventional biopic narrative arcs, using two actors to play the Beach Boys cofounder: Paul Dano as the younger Wilson and John Cusack as the older. This approach may take some viewers out of their comfort zones, but that's the point. Like Pohlad, Wilson also stretched boundaries.

Dano captivates as Wilson, sure of his vision and attending to each detail to achieve it. His performance renews viewers' appreciation for the songwriter's artistry while also complicating the pop star. From the opening shot, which shows Wilson at a piano in a darkened room arguing with the voices in his head, we see what a tortured person he really was. …

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