'Love & Mercy' [Blu-ray + Digital HD]
(John Cusack, Paul Dano, Paul Giamatti, Elizabeth Banks, et al / Blu ray / PG-13 / 2015 / LGF)
Overview: 'Love & Mercy' is the life of reclusive Beach Boys songwriter and musician Brian Wilson, from his successes with highly-influential orchestral pop albums to his nervous breakdown and subsequent encounter with controversial therapist Dr. Eugene Landy.
Blu ray Verdict: 'Love & Mercy' is an insightful look into the life of music legend Brian Wilson. Brian Wilson, played by John Cusack, is portrayed as an inspired composer haunted by mental illness. The movie continually moves from present to past; perhaps giving the audience a taste of his unbalanced psyche.
The opening scene shows an older Brian meeting, Melinda, played by the beautiful and talented, Elizabeth Banks. Brian walks into a Cadillac dealership looking buy a car and Melinda is the salesperson who helps him. It is evident right away that something is just not right with Brian.
Flashback 30 years. Brian is young again, playing on stage with his band, the Beach Boys. We are treated to some great music and a look into the Beach Boys early life. We also see hints of Brianís mental issues from his panic attach on the airplane to his refusal to continue touring with the band.
The movie continues like this; moving back and forth in time. We continue to see the progression of the relationship between Brian and Melinda. We are entertained by the evolution of the Beach Boys career seen through Brianís eyes. We also get a raw look at the mental condition that sent Brian to bed for years.
In between the past and the present, there is the villain of the story: Dr. Eugene Landy. He is Brianís controlling and often cruel therapist. At first, it seems he has Brianís interests at heart. It is through Melinda we discover he is a quack who misdiagnoses Brian and keeps him prisoner with drugs and an almost prison-like state for years. Thankfully, Melinda doesnít abandon him to this man.
It is quite entertaining to experience the music genius that is Brian Wilson through the scenes of the past; both the 60s and 80s. It is unfortunate that fame, his abusive family life and illness kept him from fully enjoying it for quite some time. 'Love and Mercy' takes you on a mental health rollercoaster with twists and turns that have you feeling ill while being fascinated with the bumpy ride.
Thankfully, you eventually get to unbuckle the seat belt and exit the ride to sanity and a happy ending. I donít mean to spoil the ending, but it is based on his real life story so we all know he is alive and well and touring. An inspiring story of hope and love and music. As a final treat, the real Brian Wilson sings the movie title, "Love & Mercy." This is a Widescreen Presentation (1:78.1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
"A California Story: Creating the Look of Love & Mercy" Featurette
"A Side / B-Side: Portraying the life of Brian Wilson" Featurette
Reviewed By: Michelle Richardson
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