SXSW 2015 snapshots – Love & Mercy
The new flick on the eventful life and times of Brian Wilson
The only problem with watching the new film about Brian Wilson is that you just want to go home and listen to “Pet Sounds” and “Smile” over and over and over again for the night. Bill Pohland’s portrait of the troubled Beach Boys’ genius comes cloaked in love and not just because it’s largely the story of Wilson’s relationship with his second wife Melinda Ledbetter. Wilson’s ups and downs are well known – from the incredible music he produced in the 1960s to the abusive childhood, illness, madness, depression, drugs and the controversial time with Dr. Eugene Landy – but Pohland embellishes all of these well known strands with great elegance and nuance. It helps that he has superb actors to take on the role of Wilson – Paul Dano as Sixties’ Brian (who fits into the role so much that you think at time the director is using real footage of Wilson in the studio, John Cusack as Seventes’ Brian – but there are also fine performances from Paul Giamatti as Landy and Elizabeth Banks as Ledbetter. A film to truly warm the cockles of your heart.