Ain’t Gonna Spurn “Love & Mercy”

These days there are more American films that are works of art than there used to be, though still not enough of them (especially good ones).  One of them that is artistic—and good to boot—is Love & Mercy (2015), the humane biopic about Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys.

Not only do Paul Dano (as the young Wilson), John Cusack (as the older Wilson), Elizabeth Banks and Paul Giamatti give remarkable performances, but the film is inventive, unflinching and unpretentious. . . The young Brian is a patently blessed man, but has a broken mind, made worse by drug abuse.  Even a soul with a broken mind, however, can be lied to and exploited by a . . . psychologist—here a fraud named Eugene Landy (Giamatti).  Part of the picture’s drama consists in Brian’s love interest (Banks) deciding to vie with Landy.  Director Bill Pohlad never lets down the material.

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