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|Originaltitel:||Love & Mercy|
|Genre:||Drama, Music movie, Romance|
|Laufzeit:||Ca. 122 min.|
|FSK:||From 6 years|
His songs enthused an audience of millions and with the Beach Boys he broke the hearts of teenage girls all over the world. But the success, which broke into Brian Wilson (Paul Dano) at a young age, took its toll, which many years later still left its traces on Brian's (John Cusack's) soul: the divorce from his first wife, drugs and psychological problems resulting from the enormous pressure to succeed and the urge to do justice to his supercritical father led to the deep fall of a great genius. His entire everyday life is like a grey mist through which his psychiatrist and confidant Dr. Landy (Paul Giamatti) maneuvers him with medication and strict isolation. But then Brian meets the car saleswoman Melinda (Elizabeth Banks), who gives Brian unexpected joie de vivre and hope - something Dr. Landy doesn't like to see at all...
"Love & Mercy" is only superficially a biopic about the legendary "Beach Boy" Brian Wilson. On two time levels, director Bill Pohlad sketches the haunting portrait of a man who threatens to break up in the battle between his musical genius and his personal demons. It is the true story of a man who seems to have lost his own identity through his psychoses and their wrong treatment, and who only gets the chance to find his way back into life after many years of alienation from his children, his family and his band colleagues through the unyielding love of a woman. That may sound a little pompous, but it's not. Because the pleasantly unadapted, somewhat challenging staging and the great play of the two Brian Wilson actors Paul Dano and John Cusack turn the story into an extremely stirring drama that skilfully avoids almost all common cliché cliffs.
Whoever expects a film about the rise and career of the "Beach Boys" will probably be disappointed. Of course, the music of the legendary formation plays an important role and especially the creation of their masterpiece "Pet Sounds" is always in the foreground. Nevertheless, this just provides the framework for a very personal story, which has only a marginal connection with the career of the Sunny Boys from California. In his staging, Pohlad tries to make Wilson's fears and confused world of thought tangible for the audience. This leads to the movie looking like a confused trip at some points. This may be a bit exhausting, but it's one of the reasons why the movie can leave such a positive and powerful impression at the end.
Another reason are the actors. Whether Paul Giamatti as a dubious psychiatrist, Elizabeth Banks as an initially naive-looking car saleswoman who then turns into a determined fighter or Jake Abel as Brian Wilson's cousin and bandmate Mike Love all deliver very strong performances. However, the movie is clearly supported by John Cusack and Paul Dano, whereas Cusack's performance stands out especially. Dano also plays very well, but his Brian Wilson is very close to other characters, as he has played them again and again recently. Cusack, who in the recent past has unfortunately been seen mainly in not very convincing home cinema premieres, can finally once again prove his versatile talent here. And that simply leaves an impression.
"Love & Mercy" is not an easily accessible film, not a pure entertainment work for a mass audience. But if you appreciate first-class Arthaus cinema from America and want to experience a very special artist portrait beyond the usual biopic norms, you shouldn't miss this film. Absolutely worth seeing!
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