Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Love & Mercy 

Wednesday, Jun 3 2015

In Love & Mercy, a bedridden Brian Wilson — the musician, not the athlete — struggles mightily with almost becoming the star child from 2001. Bill Pohlad's biopic culminates in a surreally exalting montage of Wilson at different ages (divvied up between Paul Dano and John Cusack), stuck in bed and seeming both fragile and transcendently out of this world. Well, yes: One thing most of us know about Wilson — here, it's the first personal thing his future girlfriend asks about during their meet-cute — is that he did spend a lot of time tucked in, on account of psychological problems combined with ambition to be more than just a Beach Boy. As for the girl, a Cadillac saleswoman in the form of Elizabeth Banks, she's the sweetest tortured-genius-tolerator-and-eventual-rescuer that any sensitive songsmith lad could ever hope for, especially when he's also got Paul Giamatti as a controlling monster of a therapist. Can't really complain about the casting: Dano's wounded-bird innocence works well in this mythology, as does the affable Cusackitude, even if sharing the role underscores each actor's way of seeming mostly like himself. Written by Oren Moverman and Michael A. Lerner, Pohlad's film doesn't quite revolutionize the art of movie biography, but it works as a digest of pop songcraft and period costumes, and a groovy heartwarmer besides.


About The Author

Jonathan Kiefer

SF Weekly movie critic Jonathan Kiefer is on Twitter: @kieferama and of course @sfweeklyfilm.


Comments are closed.

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"