Love and Mercy - 5 Stars
A triumph of the cinema, this movie is outstanding in every possible way – I couldn’t help but love every single moment.
To be clear from the get-go this is not a happy or conventionally enjoyable movie in any way – but it’s very realistic and it’s a piece of art. It deals with very dark times in Brian Wilson’s life and the actors playing him are superb.
The casting of two actors (Paul Dano and John Cusack) as a young and old Brian Wilson was an interesting choice and prior to seeing the movie I was apprehensive to the idea. However, I can now see that Brian became a different person in later adulthood due to everything that was happening in his life and having two actors share the role really shines light on that fact. The performances of the entire cast were sublime, Cusack and Dano played Wilson very differently at different stages of his life – the pinnacle is how both actors managed to play “deranged” without being stereotypical or crass in any way. Elisabeth Banks plays Wilson’s second wife and her performance is outstanding. Paul Giamatti plays the older Brian’s doctor and his performance is scary, riveting and enthralling all at the same time. The cast as a whole was amazing – the other actors playing The Beach Boys were superb, as was Kenny Wormald who played Brian’s dad.
The cinematography and script were also to be marvelled at, but what I think is most impressive is the use of sound – which includes original music from Wilson and The Beach Boys. It is not only the music which helps to tell the story, but sound itself – at times you hear the world from Brian’s perspective and the audience is made to focus upon every tiny sound that haunts Brian’s mind. These are some of the most powerful scenes in the film.
Overall it's the best film of the year, it’s superb, thrilling, emotional and a cinematic triumph. Do yourself a favour and see this movie – it is by far the best Oscar contender for the year.
Review by Benjamin Maio Mackay
Screening courtesy of Icon Films