Paul Dano and John Cusack Show ‘Love & Mercy’ In Full-Length Trailer For Brian Wilson Biopic

Written by on April 14, 2015 

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One of the summer releases we’re quite looking forward to is what looks to be a worthwhile biopic on Beach Boys frontman Brian WilsonLove & Mercy, set for a June release, follows both Paul Dano and John Cusack playing different iterations of the legendary musicians, tackling the early days of the band and Wilson’s later struggles with mental issues and substance abuse.

Directed by Bill Pohlad, the accomplished producer behind The Tree of Life, 12 Years a Slave, and Brokeback Mountain, reviews were mostly positive out of its Toronto International Film Festival premiere last fall. Featuring a script co-written by Oren Moverman (The Messenger, Rampart), the first full trailer has now arrived showing off more of the story. Also starring Elizabeth Banks and Paul Giamatti, check it out below.

Few musical acts are as widely beloved as the Beach Boys. Under the visionary leadership of singer-songwriter Brian Wilson, the California surf combo redefined the sound of American popular music in the 1960s. But their joyful harmonies and ingenious arrangements concealed Wilson’s private struggle with addiction and mental illness, and by the early seventies he had descended into drug-fuelled isolation. Love & Mercy is an intimate rendering of Wilson’s mercurial genius, illustrating both his musical mastery and the psychological pain it disguised.

Dispensing with staid biopic conventions, director Bill Pohlad nimbly intercuts between two key periods in Wilson’s life, shining a double spotlight on his rise to stardom with the Beach Boys in the sixties and his remarkable eighties solo resurgence. As the younger Wilson, Paul Dano gives a superb performance that conveys the artist’s prodigious gifts as well as his increasingly precarious mental state; the scenes of creative exploration during the Pet Sounds sessions are exhilarating. John Cusack is equally compelling, burrowing into himself as Dano’s middle-aged counterpart. The actors are joined by the ever-excellent Paul Giamatti, very much in his element as Wilson’s Svengali-like therapist, and by Elizabeth Banks as Melinda Ledbetter, the Cadillac saleswoman who would become Wilson’s second wife and spiritual saviour, as well as a chief catalyst in his late-career revitalization.

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Love & Mercy opens on June 5th.


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