Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Love & Mercy

Brian Wilson, the brilliant, imbalanced leader of the Beach Boys at two stages of his life: as a young man (played by Paul Dano) orchestrating the groundbreaking Pet Sounds, in-fighting with the band, and being controlled by an abusive father/manager and in middle age (John Cusack) subdued and weathered, romancing a tender, independent saleswoman (Elizabeth Banks) and again finding his life taken over, now by a wily, hot-tempered psychiatrist (Paul Giamatti). Love & Mercy is an original, unorthodox and ultimately moving musical biopic that sidesteps the trappings of its genre. The film showcases Cusack in a career performance, offers a nice role for the ever-screeching Dano, and depicts Giamatti in a frankly frightening light.
*** 1/2 out of ****