Thanks to ICON MOVIES have we got a prize pack for you!! A couple of these I would like to keep myself 🙂 LOVE & MERCY released on DVD and Blu Ray on October 28th and to celebrate the release you can win one of 3x Icon movies Music DVD Prize packs – each pack contains 1x DVD of LOVE & MERCY, NOWHERE BOY, LA VIE EN ROSE, ONCE and FAME – epic win!! Now catch up on Kernel Morgan’s review from the Sydney Film Festival and find out how to win. Rock on!! JK.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE FROM JUNE 7, 2015
Kernel Morgan reviews LOVE & MERCY – the story of The Beach Boys and more so Brian Wilson, an incredible looking film I still MUST see and one epic cast that are all must see actors for me. Dano, Cusack, (goddess) Banks and always strong Giamatti. A musical epic that delves into the unique methods and mental issue struggles of leading man Brian Wilson. LOVE & MERCY is screening as part of the amazing 2015 Sydney Film Festival but also has a cinema release on June 25th in art-house cinemas. It is being released from Icon Movies, runs for exactly two hours and looks like an M rating although not currently rated. Enjoy Morgan’s review…….all the best…….JK.
BY MORGAN BELL
LOVE & MERCY is a biopic about Beach Boys musician, singer, and songwriter, Brian Wilson, during two distinct but similar periods of his life. The story of young Wilson (Paul Dano, THERE WILL BE BLOOD, PRISONERS) is centred around the writing and recording of the Beach Boys eleventh studio album, Pet Sounds, a psychedelic concept album, released in 1966. The story of old Wilson (John Cusack, IDENTITY, BEING JOHN MALKOVICH) is centred around the meeting of Elizabeth Ledbetter (Elizabeth Banks, THE HUNGER GAMES, PITCH PERFECT, 30 ROCK) in the 1980s in the lead up to the release of his first solo album.
Cusack plays this role like RAIN MAN. He has kept his spotty complexion from THE PAPERBOY and gives off a sinister vibe with the intensity of his stare. Brian Wilson himself has said he preferred the Paul Dano interpretation within the film. He has also said that Paul Giamatti’s portrayal of psychotherapist Dr Eugene Landy was frightening “the guy who played Doctor Landy was so right on … that it absolutely scared me. [I was] like absolutely in fear for about ten minutes.” Dr Landy exploited and over-medicated Wilson. In the film he is mostly referred to as Gene and he is depicted as controlling and volatile while claiming to be a saviour “I’m helping a great men learn to be alive again.” He controls his food, his relationships, and his housekeeper by being generally unpleasant.
Paul Dano is the spitting image of young Wilson, he holds himself the same way in posture and mannerisms. It is uncanny. He plays a man who is quietly possessed with music. Time after time we see him completely zone out composing music in his head, submerged in his own little world of genius. Dano’s Wilson is more like A BEAUTIFUL MIND. We are even given the pleasure of seeing Dano in an LSD-induced hallucination where flowers grow up and bloom around him as he lays on the grass.
The most brilliant scenes happen in the Dano segments. Wilson has a strained relationship with his father, and abusive alcoholic who caused him to be deaf in one ear from a childhood beating, and who was fired from being the band’s manager. Yet Wilson strives for his father’s approval. He plays an early version of God Only Knows to his father, who, sitting around drinking in his PJs, dismisses the love song as a ‘suicide note’. We later learn that Paul McCartney says God Only Knows is the greatest song ever written.
Wilson’s father bursts into the recording studio while Wilson and his brothers are recording songs for the Pet Sounds album, an album that deviates from the Beach Boys ‘summer and fun’ theme, and announces he has found the new Beach Boys and plays The Sunrays’ song I Live For The Sun. Following this is a disturbing scene where Wilson returns to the recording booth and hears screaming and horror through the headphones each time he attempts to put them on.
At a dinner party celebrating the song Good Vibrations being the Beach Boys’ highest selling single, Wilson is told his father didn’t call, and he becomes fixated on the knives and forks scraping. The audio of the cacophony of cutlery is enhanced, and then effectively contrasted with stark silence, so we can occupy the space of Wilson’s inner mind, and feel the anxiety that Wilson is feeling.
LOVE & MERCY is a confused film because it is trying to be two different things at once. This can be the fault with many biopics that are a little too faithful to the chronology and small details of the source material. The filmmaker needs to decide whether they are making a re-enacted documentary or whether they are going to distil the essence of the story into imagery. There is a parallel in the stories of young Wilson and old Wilson, in that they are obedient and mentally destroyed by overbearing male figures who are trying to turn a dime from Wilson’s natural musical talent. Other than that this could have been changing the channel between the Hallmark midday movie (old Wilson) and Cannes Film Festival (young Wilson). There wasn’t a lot of cohesion. Although the young Wilson story provided necessary context for the old Wilson story.
LOVE & MERCY is not as good as WALK THE LINE from a moviegoers’ perspective, but it has a level of detail in the recording studio scenes (keys, baselines, instruments, sound effects, session musicians) that is clearly aimed at musical people and Beach Boys fans. The movie has similar themes to BIG EYES where the talent gets overworked and isolated by a greedy exploiter. The film also reminded me a little of WHIPLASH, not in intensity, but with the awe you are left in after being in proximity to passion for music.
The old Wilson scenes felt superficial, as we never really got inside old Wilson’s head, like we did young Wilson. It was almost as though the old Wilson storyline was the story of Elizabeth Ledbetter vs Dr Eugene Landy, and not Wilson at all. He seemed like a background character. This story would have been more suited to a miniseries format, and was thematically similar to the ABC miniseries THE JACKSONS: AN AMERICAN DREAM.
This is a great movie to learn about Brian Wilson’s life, music, and mental illness. It is injected with copious amounts of trivia and behind-the-scenes insights into some very famous recordings. This film will make you appreciate the music of the Beach Boys as more than just summer holiday radio songs.
With special thanks to ICON MOVIES to win one of the 3X DVD prize packs for the release of LOVE & MERCY containing (1x DVD of Love & Mercy, Nowhere Boy, Once, Fame, La Vie En Rose) you need to either like and share/ retweet this post on Facebook/Twitter/ Google+/ Pinterest/ LinkedIn/ Flipboard or Instagram (all the links to follow us are on the top right of homepage), you then need to leave a comment below stating the answer/s to the following questions:
What biography movie would you like to see made and why? Most original answers win 🙂
If you do not have social media then get with the times – you can still enter, LEAVE YOUR ENTRY BELOW and then email me at email@example.com telling me you don’t have social media (you still need to enter on the website).
Prizes will no longer be awarded to first in first served. It will now be a game of skill and selected purely on the thoughts of the judges, said judges being the Salty Kernels.
Good luck! Oh, and minor housekeeping – huge apologies for overseas readers, this competition is only available to Australian residents.
Kernel Morgan is an author of short fiction, an anthology editor, and a technical writer. Her debut collection was SNIGGERLESS BOUNDULATIONS. She enjoys scowling at children and bursting bubbles. She can be tweeted and stalked at @queenboxi.