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Love and Mercy

Drama . Music . Biography

The life of reclusive and eccentric Beach Boys songwriter and musician Brian Wilson.

Actors: Paul Dano , John Cusack , Paul Giamatti , Elizabeth Banks , Kenny Wormald , Jake Abel , Erin Darke , Joanna Going , Brett Davern , Graham Rogers
Directors: Bill Pohlad
Country: USA
Release: 2014-06-05
More Info:
  • Mick LaSalle

    Love & Mercy captures with striking immediacy the unbound power of the artist in his element.

    San Francisco Chronicle Full Review
  • Michael Phillips

    It's the best musical biopic in decades.

    Chicago Tribune Full Review
  • Ann Hornaday

    It’s difficult to make a visually dynamic movie about people listening. But that’s precisely what Pohlad has done with both sensitivity and audaciousness, on the one hand attuning his protagonist to the music of the spheres, and on the other bearing witness to his deepest isolation and sadness.

    Washington Post Full Review
  • Steve Persall

    It's a remarkable movie, the first of 2015 that I can't wait to see and hear again.

    Tampa Bay Times Full Review
  • Stephanie Zacharek

    The beauty, and the horror, of Bill Pohlad's exhilarating and inventive Love & the sense it gives us of the world passing through Brian Wilson's ears.

    Village Voice Full Review
  • Drew McWeeny

    In essence, we get to study Brian's break with sanity and his eventual healing, but by keeping the focus tight on these two moments, the film becomes emotionally exhilarating.

    Hitfix Full Review
  • Andrew O'Hehir

    In telling the story of one damaged suburban genius and his unlikely rebirth, Love & Mercy captures the vanished possibilities of 1960s pop music, the fecklessness of the California dream and its decay into tragedy and madness, and other things less easy to describe or define. Full Review
  • A.O. Scott

    Love & Mercy doesn’t claim to solve the mystery of Brian Wilson, but it succeeds beyond all expectation in making you hear where he was coming from.

    The New York Times Full Review
  • Andrew Barker

    A wonderfully innervating cure for the common musical biopic, Bill Pohlad’s Love & Mercy vibrantly illuminates two major breakthroughs — one artistic, one personal — in the life of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson.

    Variety Full Review
  • William Goss

    Ultimately, all involved are cast in the shadow of Dano’s wide-ranging performance, capturing Wilson at his most ecstatic and his most hopeless. Already a well-established talent with remarkable turns in "There Will Be Blood" and "Little Miss Sunshine," the young actor has never demonstrated such profound sensitivity as he does here. Some might even say he’s been touched by greatness, or at least does a damn good impression of it.

    Austin Chronicle Full Review
  • Steven Rea

    Its daring dive into the mind of Brian Wilson feels right. God only knows (to borrow a Pet Sound song title or two), but you still believe in . . . Brian.

    Philadelphia Inquirer Full Review
  • Richard Roeper

    Rarely have two actors been so effective playing the same character while taking totally different approaches.

    Chicago Sun-Times Full Review
  • Joe Williams

    Love & Mercy is artfully but unobtrusively directed by Bill Pohlad.

    St. Louis Post-Dispatch Full Review
  • Peter Travers

    Musically, the film is a miracle, right and riveting in every detail.

    Rolling Stone Full Review
  • Howard Cohen

    Love & Mercy allows you to understand how the lifelong auditory hallucination that haunted Wilson also fueled his creativity. Sometimes, from madness, great art can emerge.

    Miami Herald Full Review
  • Lou Lumenick

    Worth seeing just for the dramatization of the making of “Good Vibrations” alone. But there’s much more to savor in this biopic — a rare high note in the drone of so much summer dreck.

    New York Post Full Review
  • Peter Rainer

    Dano and Cusack never let us forget that Wilson is human before he is anything else – genius, icon, legend. The film provides him with the succor that was so lacking in so many aspects of his life. I would like to think that the real Brian Wilson, looking at this film, would be OK with it.

    Christian Science Monitor Full Review
  • Eric Kohn

    Love & Mercy is an engrossing portrait of Wilson's specific artistic inclinations, which draw from no real precedent.

    indieWIRE Full Review
  • Kevin Jagernauth

    Love & Mercy isn't a standard celebration nor a traditional music biopic. Instead, it's a survival story.

    The Playlist Full Review
  • Joe Neumaier

    To capture the artistic process in this way is extraordinary, and in many ways unprecedented. The scenes are not shot in documentary style, but flow with bits of inspiration, conflict and nuance. We see and listen to some of the era’s greatest songs being made.

    New York Daily News Full Review
  • David Edelstein

    Director Bill Pohlad (working with frequent Wes Anderson cinematographer Robert Yeoman) is extraordinarily sensitive to the amorphous nature of Wilson’s life and art, and Atticus Ross’s score creates a floating, evocative soundscape, which is Brian Wilson–esque without a trace of plagiarism.

    New York Magazine (Vulture) Full Review
  • Joshua Rothkopf

    Wilson, a pop savant, was chasing some kind of dragon, and as the movie toggles years forward to the scared, overmedicated Wilson of the 1980s (John Cusack, absorbingly strange in the tougher part), you sense that the dragon bit back.

    Time Out New York Full Review
  • John DeFore

    A deeply satisfying pop biopic whose subject's bifurcated creative life lends itself to an unconventional structure.

    The Hollywood Reporter Full Review
  • Jeff Baker

    It's a welcome change from a conventional birth-to-now biography, somewhere between the straight narratives of "Ray" and "Get On Up" and the fractured, Cate Blanchett-in-sunglasses, Richard Gere-on-horseback meta-fable "I'm Not There."

    Portland Oregonian Full Review
  • Glenn Kenny

    The result is a story that’s hair-raisingly watchable and frequently moving, regardless of what you believe you might already know of Wilson’s life. Full Review
  • Inkoo Kang

    Like Wilson’s cornball “California Girls,” Love & Mercy is by no means a complicated portrait, and yet it’s a curiously satisfying one.

    TheWrap Full Review
  • Ty Burr

    Despite the lumps in the batter, Love & Mercy ends up involving and affecting, because the performances are honest and the stories it tells are inherently dramatic.

    Boston Globe Full Review
  • Erik Adams

    Capturing the spirit of that music (while dramatizing the circumstances of its creation) is Love & Mercy’s biggest victory.

    The A.V. Club Full Review
  • Roger Moore

    John Cusack plays this older, post-breakdown Wilson, a twitchy, tentative millionaire genius who has the guilelessness and sweetness of an abused puppy.

    Tribune News Service Full Review
  • Bill Goodykoontz

    A great movie exists in Love & Mercy, side by side with a pretty good one.

    Arizona Republic Full Review
  • Keith Phipps

    An earnest attempt to convey the essential truth of Wilson’s extraordinary career and difficult life animates both halves of the film, and both performances.

    The Dissolve Full Review
  • Anthony Lane

    You feel both moved and exhausted by the distance that Wilson has to travel, musically and emotionally, before reaching the shore. That makes it, I guess, a happy ending. But then, as one of the Beach Boys remarks, on listening to “Pet Sounds,” even the happy songs are sad.

    The New Yorker Full Review
  • Henry Barnes

    Wilson's life has been unusually rich. This biopic, like any biopic, is a cocktail of fact and myth. It's very sensitive to its subject, which can sometimes leave it feeling slight.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • Kenneth Turan

    Pohlad did not lack for ideas about how he wanted to portray Brian Wilson's life, but he is without the wherewithal to effectively put them into practice.

    Los Angeles Times Full Review
  • Joe Morgenstern

    Both Mr. Dano and Mr. Cusack, by contrast, find as many notes as they can in portraying their troubled character, though they’re clearly limited by the schematic writing and insistent direction.

    Wall Street Journal Full Review
  • Christopher Gray

    Bill Pohlad seems never to have met a metaphor he couldn't bludgeon into its most rudimentary and literal interpretation.

    Slant Magazine Full Review
  • Jamie Neish

    An unconventional biopic that's masterfully executed and fascinating to watch.

    CineVue Full Review
  • Kevin Harley

    Don’t worry, baby: Pohlad’s biopic is reverent, duly, but also rich, clever, warm and sensitive. Banks and Giamatti provide anchor, Cusack impresses and Dano surfs to glory.

    Total Film Full Review
  • Ian Freer

    This is the film Brian Wilson’s talent deserves: original, smart and affecting.

    Empire Full Review
  • Peter Bradshaw

    It’s creative and experimental in just the right spirit, though with an asymmetric flaw. The film is a kind of diptych in which one of the panels is more fully achieved than the other.

    The Guardian Full Review
  • Tim Robey

    Pohlad’s film is good at probing the line between radical creativity and mental disarray; arguably less good at getting Wilson back on the safe side of it. But it leaves you in no doubt that the man’s a genius.

    The Telegraph Full Review
Add Soundtrack
  • 57. The Fool On the Hill (LOVE Version) [iTunes Exclusive] Performer: The Beatles Stream Music Online
  • 61. Come Together Dear Prudence Cry Baby Cry (LOVE Version) Performer: The Beatles Stream Music Online
  • 70. Within You Without You Tomorrow Never Knows (LOVE Version) Performer: The Beatles Stream Music Online
  • 72. Drive My Car The Word What Youre Doing (LOVE Version) Performer: The Beatles Stream Music Online
  • 75. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! I Want You (Shes So Heavy) Helter Skelter (LOVE Version) Performer: The Beatles Stream Music Online
  • 76. Sgt. Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band (Reprise) [LOVE Version] Performer: The Beatles Stream Music Online
  • 102. Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite! / I Want You (She's So Heavy) / Helter Skelter Performer: The Beatles Stream Music Online
  • 112. Bed Montage Performer: The Beach Boys, Four Freshmen, Atticus Ross, and with voice excerpts of Bill Camp (from the movie "Love and Mercy") Stream Music Online

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  • therapist

  • musician

  • nervous breakdown

  • title based on song

  • songwriter

  • pop music

  • the beach boys

  • psychotherapist

  • hearing voices

  • voices inside the head

  • mental illness

  • medical malpractice

  • 1980s

  • 1960s

  • abusive father

  • california

  • what happened to epilogue

  • dead end street

  • manipulative personality

  • underwater scene

  • recording studio

  • drug abuse

  • lsd

  • songwriting

  • nonlinear timeline

  • panic attack

  • car saleswoman

  • los angeles california

  • malibu california

  • rock music

  • rock band

  • over medicating

  • beach house

  • car dealership

  • recording session

  • father son relationship

  • husband wife relationship

  • brother brother relationship

  • ampersand in title

  • three word title

  • beach

  • boy

  • legal guardian

  • cadillac

  • title at the end

  • title mentioned in song

  • childhood flashback

  • multiple actors for one character

  • playing piano

  • control freak

  • ends with real life footage

  • character says i love you

  • love interest

  • car showroom

  • pop band

  • pop song

  • 60s music

  • session musician

  • strong female lead

  • strong female character

  • black and white scene

  • confidence

  • year 1963

  • dead end

  • almost hit by a car

  • bed

  • bedroom

  • white bedroom

  • face slap

  • metronome

  • genius

  • last will and testament

  • threat to call immigration

  • undocumented worker

  • asking for help

  • voice over inner thoughts

  • court order

  • jumping into water

  • sailing ship

  • yacht

  • falling into a swimming pool

  • pushed into a swimming pool

  • rubber raft

  • fast motion sequence

  • man crying

  • tears

  • crying

  • boxer shorts

  • pounding on a glass window

  • overhearing a conversation

  • knocking on a door

  • reference to dan rather

  • publishing rights

  • a&m records

  • hawaiian

  • chanting

  • hawaiian singing

  • anger

  • 14 year old

  • liar

  • lie

  • writing an autobiography

  • reference to arnold palmer the drink

  • reference to arnold palmer

  • mental breakdown

  • reference to ludwig van beethoven

  • reference to kurt weill

  • reference to irving berlin

  • reference to hank williams

  • reference to george gershwin

  • reference to aaron copland

  • wine

  • record company

  • implied fenale nudity

  • doorbell

  • shower

  • swimming

  • capitol records

  • symphony

  • giving a toast

  • propeller

  • pianist

  • bare feet

  • reference to paul mccartney

  • cocaine

  • reference to penicillin

  • reference to geometry

  • reference to coca cola

  • reference to pet sounds the album

  • distorted voice

  • film camera

  • fireman's hat

  • voice over telephone call

  • friendship

  • friend

  • applause

  • scene during end credits

  • year 2004

  • year 1995

  • ucla

  • psychology

  • psychologist

  • song plays over a conversation

  • year 1992

  • bare chested male

  • year 1939

  • audio montage

  • hearing noises

  • uncle nephew relationship

  • reference to wolfgang amadeus mozart

  • pot smoking

  • marijuana

  • lyricist

  • ego

  • microphone

  • listening to music

  • gaining weight

  • cousin cousin relationship

  • hand fan

  • reference to tokyo japan

  • montage

  • lying on the floor

  • distrust

  • trust

  • self worth

  • suspicion

  • therapy

  • suicidal thoughts

  • self medicating

  • eating

  • food

  • schizophrenia

  • paranoia

  • male male kiss

  • medication

  • hamburger

  • hunger

  • drowsiness

  • allergy

  • subculture

  • publisher

  • year 1971

  • reference to the underground dictionary

  • barbecue

  • pills

  • reference to canter's deli los angeles

  • marriage

  • 16 year old

  • jewish

  • ex husband ex wife relationship

  • maatzo ball soup

  • inner voice

  • extortion

  • exploitation

  • reference to sam cooke

  • reference to phil spector

  • reference to elvis presley

  • reference to dean martin

  • reference to frank sinatra

  • lying on a car hood

  • hearing music inside one's head

  • french horn

  • flutist

  • flute

  • dog

  • bobby pin

  • f word

  • reference to encino california

  • drug use

  • family relationships

  • father daughter relationship

  • mother son relationship

  • unhappiness

  • deafness

  • reflection in a mirror

  • rock 'n' roll

  • tympani drums

  • studio musician

  • pipe smoking

  • reference to god only knows the song

  • reference to the capris

  • marital separation

  • spanking

  • beating

  • reference to the four freshmen

  • restaurant

  • cafe

  • griffith park observatory los angeles

  • reference to the north star

  • sunglasses

  • eyeglasses

  • drinking

  • drink

  • pajamas

  • reference to god

  • piano

  • kiss

  • kiss on the cheek

  • concert

  • chauffeur

  • limousine

  • yelling for someone

  • awkwardness

  • balcony

  • looking at one's self in a mirror

  • mirror

  • reference to jesus christ

  • telephone call

  • telephone

  • jumping into a swimming pool

  • reference to japan

  • promise

  • breast slur

  • reference to john lennon

  • nervousness

  • reference to cocoa puffs

  • reference to the beatles

  • darkness

  • party

  • covering one's face with a pillow

  • anxiety

  • sleeping

  • flash forward

  • flashback

  • airplane

  • fear

  • loneliness

  • reference to maserati

  • doctor

  • sadness

  • drowning

  • death of brother

  • death

  • reference to candid camera

  • bodyguard

  • the color blue

  • cadillac fleetwood

  • buying a car

  • sand

  • jogging

  • apology

  • sneakers

  • musical group

  • tv camera

  • bikini

  • bikini girl

  • scene during opening credits

  • behind the scenes

  • backstage

  • earphones

  • drummer

  • guitarist

  • drums

  • guitar

  • convertible

  • surfboard

  • hawthorne california

  • surfing

  • archive footage

  • prologue

  • cigarette smoking

  • composer

  • song

  • singing

  • singer

  • piano player

  • falling in love

  • eccentric artist

  • interrupted kiss

  • abusive doctor

  • compassion

  • swimming pool

  • abusive childhood

  • wrapped in a bedsheet

  • housekeeper

  • jumping into a pool with clothes on

  • estranged father

  • hypersensitivity

  • cello

  • hit song

  • child abuse

  • 1970s

  • three brothers