Highly Recommended ***** Movies are not really my thing, but once in a while, Chicago is treated to a rare premiere and in this case, a wonderful story and an excellent film, makes me want to shout it out to others. The film is titled “Love & Mercy” and it is the story of Brian Wilson (of the Beach Boys). It is what might be called an unconventional portrait of the person and his saga.
It starts out telling us about a young songwriter, Brian Wilson (a sharply played character study by Paul Dano) who many considered a “Savant” when it came to his creativity and innovations. Intent on changing the surf image of his family group, he leaves them to start new musical adventures.
Fast forward to his latter years. He is now played by local actor John Cusack, who it seems may have some mental issues as he wanders into a Cadillac dealership to purchase a new car. He meets the beautiful Melinda Ledbetter (the absolutely gorgeous Elizabeth Banks) and now we go fro the present back to the 1960’s and all the years in between as we learn about Brian’s life as a young man, and how we got to where this movie is about to take us.
I would never spoil what you will see in this sterling production that takes us into this many faceted talent. We learn a great deal about what made him what he was and why he seemed a bit off his game when he first entered the car dealership and found himself falling in love. It turns out that he was living two lives and we as the audience get to watch both the 60’s and the later years. We also learn a great deal about the man who supposedly saved him from himself, Dr. Eugene Landy (deftly handled by the always reliable Paul Giamatti).
There are many twists and turns in this solidly done biography of a man who represents a great part of American Musical history. Wilson was, after all, the creator of the greatest album ever, “Pet Sounds”. Our evening at The Music Box Theater in Wrigleyville (the perfect place to see this film) with Cusack welcoming us. After the showing, he came back onstage but brought with him Brian Wilson himself who shared some of his thoughts relative to the making of this biography. It was a perfect evening as we left the theater feeling very upbeat and deeply entertained learning a great deal about one of our American Icons, Brian Wilson. June 5th is just around the corner- mark your calendars now!