Love and Mercy Review

love and mercy

love and mercy

You must know 2 things before I go any further.

  1. John Cusack is my all time favorite actor. I have seen every movie he has ever made, even the ones that have 1 star on IMDB and a few that were very difficult to watch, like The Factory.
  2. I’ve never been a huge fan of The Beach Boys. I know I’m not in the majority of the population here, but I’ve always found their music a little grating. I also have never taken the time to learn anything about them.

A few months ago, during SXSW, you might remember that I was supposed to finally get a chance to meet my fantasy boyfriend, Mr. John Cusack. In what was probably the biggest fail of my adult life, I completely set through my alarm and missed the entire interview. I am still full of regret and sadness over my mistake.

The missed interview was for a Press event for the release of Love and Mercy. At the time, I hadn’t even taken the time to look into the movie at all, which probably means it’s a good thing that I missed the interview. I probably would have looked the fool.

Regardless, I was excited to see the positive reviews and was intrigued by the trailer for the new film. For this reason, I jumped at the chance to see the film opening night in Austin. I wasn’t completely sure if I would enjoy it, having no prior information about Brian Wilson or the Beach Boys.

For those of you who are unaware, the film is based on the biography and life of singer/songwriter Brian Wilson. The narrative goes back from forth between the life of the young Brian Wilson in the 60s (Paul Dano) as he’s just becoming a world-wide success; and an older Brian Wilson in the 80’s (John Cusack) who is struggling and deep in the throes of a mental disorder.

Guys, this movie was fascinating. The viewer gets a peak at Brian’s genius process of creating music, the hardships that he endured in the public eye and growing up with a tumultuous father, and his struggle to keep his independence in a world of people who sought to control him.

Since seeing the film, I’ve gone down a deep wormhole of listening to recordings, watching interviews, and reading everything that I can about Brian Wilson. From what I’ve learned, both Paul Dano and John Cusack did excellent jobs at transforming into the musician. In addition, Paul Giamatti’s portrayal of psychotherapist Gene Landy was absolutely terrifying.

One of my favorite aspects of the film was the beautiful production of sound and music. It really added to the scenes that showed Brian’s failing grip on reality.
In short, whether or not you’re a fan of the Beach Boys or Brian Wilson, this is one you should definitely see in the theater. And not just because of John Cusack. I can promise that within ten minutes of leaving the theater, you will download Pet Sounds and forever hear the Beach Boys’ music in a different, more magical light.


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  • MilitaryWifeandPugLife

    I really like John Cusack as well so I’ll eventually watch this when its out of the theaters. As much as I appreciate Brian’s work and contributions to musical history, his story has been rehashed over and over. I just wish they would have done something like this for one of the other greats, and there are so many, many out there, who we know less about. Regardless this will probably get an Oscar nod.
    You should watch Immortal Beloved if you liked this movie. If you haven’t already.

  • Julia Strong

    This sounds intriguing, and I love John Cusack!! Thanks for sharing!

  • Mwa

    I love John Cusack as well, but by the sounds of it not quite as much as you. If we ever meet him together, you can have him.


    he filmed a movie by my house last year and i waited forever for a glimpse of him. nope! i really want to wtch this movie.

  • Stacie

    I’ve been wondering about this film because I love The Beach Boys and John Cusack, so it sounded like a winning combo for me. Thanks for the review!

  • Helene

    I LOVED this movie. I thought it was so interesting and Cusak nailed the role.

  • Rita

    Ahhh I love John Cusack too lol! I need to watch this movie! P.S. Always remember that everything happens for a reason;). Rita @