Love And Mercy (2014)A review by Shlomoh Sherman
June 19, 2015
Love & Mercy (2014)
Plot: In the 1960s, Beach Boys leader Brian Wilson struggles with emerging psychosis as he attempts to craft his avant-garde pop masterpiece. In the 1980s, he is a broken, confused man under the 24-hour watch of shady therapist Dr. Eugene Landy.
Director: Bill Pohlad
Writers: Oren Moverman, Michael A. Lerner
Stars: John Cusack, Paul Dano, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Giamatti
Plot Summary - Plot Synopsis
Plot Keywords: 1980s - 1960s - therapist - ampersand in title - three word title
Taglines: The Life, Love and Genius of Brian Wilson
Genres: Biography - Drama - Music
Motion Picture Rating (MPAA): Rated PG-13 for thematic elements, drug content and language
Release Date: June $, 2015 (Israel)
Filming Locations: Los Angeles, California, USA
Opening Weekend: $2,122,177 (USA) (June 5, 2015)
Gross: $4,774,000 (USA) (June 12, 2015)
Production Co: River Road Entertainment, Battle Mountain Films
Runtime: 121 min
Sound Mix: Dolby Digital
Color: Color - Black and White
I have never been a big fan of the Beach Boys. Their music was supposed to appeal to a younger era people during the 1960s when I was already in my mid-20s, and my tastes were more into popular ballads and bossa nova. I also have never been the surfer type but as young Brian Past exclaims, 'We're *not* surfers, we *never* have been, and *real* surfers don't dig our music anyway!'"
Of course I was aware of their songs since the 1960s was a decade during which I listened to music radio every day. So of course I was aware of KOKOMO, I GET AROUND, WOULDN'T IT BE NICE, BARBARA ANN [which gave rise to several political parodies], CALIFORNIA GIRLS [which I would sing to a Los Angeles old flame], SURFIN' USA, GOOD VIBRATIONS [used in the 2003 film, LOVE ACTUALLY], and GOD ONLY KNOWS [a hauntingly beautiful song used as the end title background song in the film, LOVE ACTUALLY]. And another thing - I am a big fan of Chicago. During the 70s, Chicago recorded a beautiful song entitled, WISHING YOU WERE HERE. What I didn't realize at the time is that they did the recording as a joint project with the Beach Boys. Knowing that may have added to my enjoyment of the song.
Music always brings joy to young people in the midst of romance, and especially during the long, light days of summer. But as Printcess64 says in his June 5, 2015 review, "It's hard to believe all that sunny happy music came from such a dark place." The dark place referred to is the descent of the group's leader, Brian Wilson, into the depths of a brooding insanity. Brian is a musical genius but his early life, as presented in LOVE AND MERCY, was a series of physical, verbal, and emotional abuse, first by his father, and later by his doctor, Dr. Eugene Landy, who managed to legally take over his negative psychological treatment and assets, holding Brian in virtual house arrest, and being the ultimate arbiter of who could come into contact with Brian.
One day, while shopping for a Cadillac, Brian encountered Melinda Ledbetter, the car saleswoman who eventually became his girl-friend and, later on , his wife, overcoming the opposition and strong arm methods of Landy.
There are many reasons for me to recommend this movie, among them are:
A final note: The eerie sound of GOOD VIBRATIONS is attributed to the inclusion of the Theramin, which Google describes as an electronic musical instrument in which the tone is generated by two high-frequency oscillators and the pitch controlled by the movement of the performer's hand toward and away from the circuit. Wikipedia reminds us that "The theremin was used in movie soundtracks such as Miklós Rózsa's SPELLBOUND and THE LOST WEEKEND and THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, as well as other 1950s science fiction movies. The instrument was named after its Russian inventor, Léon Theremin, who patented the device as early as 1928 when he came to live in the United States. In 1938, Theremin left the United States. There is speculation that he was taken from his New York City apartment by KGB agents, taken back to the Soviet Union and made to work in a prison camp in Siberia. In his 2000 biography of the inventor, THEREMIN: ETHER MUSIC AND ESPIONAGE, Albert Glinsky suggested the Russian had fled the USSR to escape crushing personal debts, and was then caught up in Stalin's political purges. I have heard another theory, namely, that Stalin, in his paranoia, considered the technology with which Theramin used to create the instrument might have military uses which Theramin might hand over to the West. In any case, Theremin did not return to the United States until 1991.
Did You Know?
For a full, comprehensive list of soundtraks, surf to http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0903657/soundtrack?ref_=tt_trv_snd
Awards: 1 win and 11 nominations
Discuss Love & Mercy (2014) on the IMDb message boards
Elizabeth Banks ... Melinda Ledbetter
John Cusack ... Brian Future
Paul Giamatti ... Dr. Eugene Landy
Paul Dano ... Brian Past
Dee Wallace ... Rosemary
Jake Abel ... Mike Love
Kenny Wormald ... Dennis Wilson
Joanna Going ... Audree Wilson
Nikki Wright ... Hippy / Doper
Brett Davern ... Carl Wilson
Max Schneider ... Van Dyke Parks
Graham Rogers ... Al Jardine
Tyson Ritter ... Hipster #1
Erin Darke ... Marilyn Wilson
Diana Maria Riva ... Gloria
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