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Love and Mercy

Story of Brian Wilson (Beach Boys) life; Paul Dano plays the young Wilson at the height of his creativity, and John Cusack plays Wilson during the later years when he was struggling most with his mental illness. I really liked this movie and found it incredibly absorbing. While I, like many of us, grew up with Beach Boys music, I did not know much about Brian Wilson. I was intrigued by some of the unusual things the director did with the movie, such as the jumping back and forth between the young Wilson and the older Wilson; the filming of the young Wilson that made you feel like you were watching an actual documentary of young musicians in the studio and creating music; and the way the film brought me deep into the younger Wilson’s head. The scenes in which the song Good Vibrations was being composed were great and probably the best of the movie, as I really felt like I was seeing directly into the creative mind of a musical genius. The acting overall is superb, especially Paul Dano and Paul Giamatti as Eugene Landry, who is particularly creepy and evil. Thumbs up from me and from Aunt Jeannette; the movie taught me a lot about Brian Wilson and is also intensely psychological. (2015; 4 stars)

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