Starring: John Cusack, Paul Dano, Elizabeth Banks, Paul Giamatti

Love & Mercy

Love & Mercy

Director: Bill Pohlad

Rating: 5/5

If you are looking for a movie that is not a big budget blockbuster this weekend then Love & Mercy is definitely one that you cannot miss.

Love & Mercy, which sees Bill Pohlad back in the director's chair for the first time since Old Explorers back in 1990, is one of the summer films that I have particularly been looking forward to... I am delighted to say, it's a film that really doesn't disappoint.

Love & Mercy presents an unconventional portrait of Brian Wilson, the mercurial singer, songwriter and leader of The Beach Boys. Set against the era defining catalogue of Wilson's music, the film intimately examines the personal voyage and ultimate salvation of the icon whose success came at extraordinary personal cost.

John Cusack and Paul Dano have always been two incredibly exciting actors and they really do give two terrific performances - they are both playing the role of Brian Wilson and two different stages of his life.

For me, it is Dano that shines that brightest as he disappears into the role of the young Wilson, who found fame in the sixties with the Beach Boys. Dano really is one of the best actors that no one ever seems to talk about. He really gets under the skin of Wilson and helps show the creative process that the musician went through to create some of his iconic music.

Fast forward twenty years and we meet a very different Wilson who is under the 'care' of psychiatrist Eugene Landy due to his mental health issues. For me, it is Cusack's performance that is just so heartbreaking as he is held imprisoned by Landy and all of the creative flair and excitement he had a young man are gone.

Together, Dano and Cusack paint an intimate portrait for Wilson, explore him, understand him, and make you admire this wonderful musical talent who battled with so much. These two performances have been whipping up a storm on the festival circuit and could well - and very deservingly - find themselves in the Oscar mix at the beginning of next year.

Paul Giamatti and Elizabeth Banks also give terrific performances as Eugene Landy and Melinda, who falls in love with Wilson while he is under Landy's care. Giamatti's performance as the controlling Landy really will send a shiver down your spine, while Banks plays Melinda as a ray of light for Wilson in what was, at times, a dark and difficult world.

I found Love & Mercy to be a moving, insightful, funny, inspiring, and enlightening movie that takes you deep into the ups and downs of Wilson's life. It is a film that is original and smart and is so much more than a standard music biopic.

However, this is not an easy movie to watch as it is a story that is filled with so much pain as Wilson was very much a tortured genius. But this is a movie that is crafted with so much care and compassion that you really get swept along in the tale that it has to tell.

It is not hard to see why Love & Mercy is a movie that has been whipping up a storm on the festival circuit and it deserves to be one of the big hits of the summer.

Love & Mercy is one of the best biopics that I have seen in recent years and it is driven by the intelligence and insight with which this movie is made and the terrific performances that both Dano and Cusack have delivered. An absolute must see this weekend!!

Love & Mercy is out now.

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