You begin to understand a bit more about what artists go through by the time you finish Love and Mercy. The story of Beach Boy founder and main creative engine Brian Wilson is a moving account of the cost of a lifetime of intense focus on getting an artistic vision out of your system and out to an audience.
The story is told from two perspectives: a young Wilson (played by Paul Cano) and his struggle to produce his critically-acclaimed 1966 album Pet Sounds and the trajectory his personal life took after that; and a middle-aged Wilson in the mid-1980s (played by John Cusack) being rescued from the clutches of his over-controlling “guardian” Eugene Landy (player by Paul Giamatti) by his future wife Melinda Kae Ledbetter (played by Elizabeth Banks).
How groundbreaking music is built from the ground up by a man alone in his journey to see his vision made real is the most astounding takeaway from this film. For most of us who mainly consume works of art and fail to appreciate the courage and perseverance that goes into the creative process, catching a glimpse of the making of art makes us a little bit richer in mind and spirit.
If only for this aspect, Love and Mercy is a film already worth seeing. But with a top-notch cast delivering top notch performances, it is an immersive trip following the footsteps of an American icon.
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