Movie: Love and Mercy
My Rating: 1 star
Ugh! Watching this movie was torture. I don’t know how someone could manage to make a movie about the Beach Boys so painfully dull, but somehow this filmmaking team has managed it. Brian Wilson’s life was nothing if not eventful—young stardom, abusive dad, descent into madness. There’s plenty of material there to weave into a compelling story. But these filmmakers somehow turned it into a monotonous slog.
The best thing that I can say about this movie is that I learned something I didn’t know before. I already knew that Brian Wilson had a pretty rough life—that he dealt with some pretty serious mental illness, and that his father was an absolute demon. But, I never knew the part about how later as an adult, his manager was taking advantage of him by keeping him in a constant drugged stupor. That’s some pretty dark stuff, even considering what Wilson had already dealt with in his life. It’s just a shame that this movie was so painful to watch.
I suppose this was supposed to be a prestige piece—a hard-hitting examination of abuse and mental illness (for your consideration for best screenplay of the year, I’m assuming). But, I think this was a misfire. It’s just that nothing ever happens. We see young Brian playing music. We see old Brian in a drugged stupor in a car dealership. We see young Brian recording a music video. We see old Brian in a drugged stupor at the beach. We see young Brian composing a familiar song. We see old Brian in a drugged stupor in his apartment. It’s very tedious, and the movie felt like it was a thousand hours long. This was another situation where I found myself yelling at the TV, demanding to know why it was doing this to me. I guess on the bright side, we get to see Elizabeth Banks wearing some pretty spectacular 80s sweaters and dresses. She’s got shoulder pads for days. And, so much brass hardware!
I did not enjoy this movie. I don’t recommend it. But, this isn’t just casual advice, letting you know about a potentially artsy, slower-moving movie. This is a serious warning. Do not watch it. The odds are good that you will not like it. You guys are good people. I wouldn’t want you to have to suffer as I have.