Love & Mercy

Love & Mercy. Biopics are not my strong suit and I usually complain about them. This was a good one, alternating between an older and a younger Brian Wilson, some of the scenes echoing each other. It didn’t delve into the drug stuff as much as I expected, or the long years he spent in bed. I wonder if that was a PR thing? Or maybe it just doesn’t lend itself to picturization. Still an interesting view of mental illness, and mental illness in a particular time and place without stuff we take for granted now. Also an atypical romance here, where the collapse happens in a way that you’re sympathetic to both. He’s a broken man; she’s a woman who knows she can only give so much. I left wondering about how thwarted and overwhelmed he must have felt. Not just the creative struggle to take what’s in his head and make it real. There’s also the conflicting and belittling messages from father, doctor, bandmates, etc. Wicked sound design at times playing against all of those in a few scenes, like when he rejects his father and picks up the headphones, some studio breakthroughs, some moments wrestling with schizophrenia.

After seeing this, I’m also curious about The Wrecking Crew, a doc about the session musicians who helped create the original sound for the Beach Boys and many others.

Filed under: Ebertfest