love & mercy
Love & Mercy Review: The film tells the story of prolific songwriter, Brian Wilson at two different stages of his life. Paul Dano portrays Wilson in the mid 60s while John Cusack plays Wilson in the mid 80s. We start with Brian Wilson (Cusack) meeting Melinda Ledbetter (Elizabeth Banks) while trying to buy a car from the Cadillac dealership where she's employed. Wilson makes an impression on her despite his erratic behavior and the two start dating. Wilson opens up to Melinda sharing with her his past (Dano takes over the Wilson role in flashbacks) of mental illness, parental abuse, his failed marriage and the abandonment of his family. The more involved she becomes with him she learns that Wilson was bedridden for several years and was "rescued" by Dr. Eugene Landy (Paul Giamatti) from his depression. She also learns that Landy hold totals dominion over Wilson as well. The movie is based on the life of Brian Wilson but the title refers to the unconditional love and mercy given by Melinda Ledbetter who rescues him and ultimately becomes his wife. The acting in this film shows that true ability of all the leads. Dano and Cusack have Wilson's mannerisms nailed down. The likeness between Dano and Wilson at the same age are uncanny (no prosthetic make up was used). Paul Giamatti is once again perfectly cast and relishes his role as a slime-ball but the real award in my opinion goes to Elizabeth Banks. Known for her comedic roles in films like Role Models, The 40 Year Old Virgin and Zack & Miri Make a Porno, she steps into the role of a woman with a damaged past to rescue a man that truly needs her. Elizabeth Banks must have lived the title of this film in every shot she was in. FINAL REVIEW: 4 out of 4 Stars.
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