Love and Mercy is one of those rare, special, and absolutely beautiful biopics that makes you feel sad, hopeful, contemplative, and musically inspired all at the same time. I can’t say I have ever been a huge fan of the Beach Boys’ surfer days, but I have always loved some of their later material such as “God Only Knows” and “Good Vibrations,” so I was curious to see what this film about the musically gifted Brian Wilson was all about. I’m glad I gave it a chance.
It came as a surprise to me that there was such a complex backstory behind this group, especially Brian Wilson’s shocking and heartbreaking life of childhood abuse, his complex musical genius, his drug use, and his quite frightening relationship with his psychiatrist – as well as his inspiring, loving relationship with his wife Melinda who helped him return to a better life.
I don’t want to get into too many details and ruin the movie for viewers, because it is the type of movie that you really need to experience and ponder on your own without having too much outside influence. I will say that, as a music lover, I absolutely loved the scenes involving Wilson’s creation of the album Pet Sounds and surrounding events. It is always inspiring to see old-school studio recording processes – and Wilson’s style is a perfect example. This was my absolute favorite part of the film, along with the real Beach Boys recordings included throughout.
This is a quite short post/review, but it is completely on purpose. I watched it on Hulu, where it may or may not still be available, and I am sure it is available in other formats and on other platforms. If you love music (especially from the 1960’s) and if you love human interest biopics, this film is for you.