Irish Film Institute -LOVE & MERCY



121 minutes, U.S.A., 2014, Colour, DCP

★★★★The Irish Times  ★★★★ The Guardian

★★★★½  RTÉ.ie

Bill Pohlad’s moving biopic of Brian Wilson, one of popular music’s greatest talents, recounts in parallel narratives the recording of The Beach Boys’ 1966 masterpiece Pet Sounds and the circumstances in the 1980s through which, with the help of eventual wife Melinda Ledbetter (Elizabeth Banks), he escaped the domination of therapist Eugene Landy (Paul Giamatti).

Sensitive in its depiction of the effects of fame and critical expectation on Wilson’s mental health, and the subsequent years tragically lost to Landy’s masquerade of assistance, Paul Dano and John Cusack, who alternate the lead role in the different time periods, create an impressively cohesive portrayal of a man who, despite being so immensely gifted, was heartbreakingly vulnerable to criticism and exploitation (and not just by Landy). The scenes of Wilson in the studio with the Wrecking Crew are an absolute joy, and it’s unlikely that any film this year will have a better soundtrack.(Notes by Kevin Coyne)

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