Love & Mercy (A Review of Sorts)

Oh my word, you guys. Hunny took me on a date June 29th, over a month ago. My plan was to share our movie experience with you the following week. It is somewhat terrifying to me that I let 33 days slip through my fingers. Does that frighten you to your very core? If not, it should!

33 days ago, the plan was to see Love & Mercy and then watch I’ll See You in My Dreams, a Doris Day / Danny Thomas movie. I can’t even explain how excited I was to see a biopic followed by a movie made in 1951. Two types of films I love with the man I love?! Life does not get any better than that.

When we arrive at the film house, we do not see a Danny Thomas movie poster. Doris Day’s enormous smile is nowhere to be found. Hunny asks the girl behind the concessions stand about the movie. She tells us I’ll See You in My Dreams is an old person movie about old people and we did not want to see that. Undaunted, we went on to watch Love & Mercy.

I went into this movie looking forward to peeking behind the scenes at the Beach Boys and completely uninterested in Brian Wilson. You see, growing up I believed I would be involved in music. I would be a singer/songwriter for some band or just myself and that would be my life and livelihood. I watched Behind the Music incessantly. It did not matter if the bands were ones I didn’t know full of people I had never heard about, I watched to learn about the ins and outs of the music business and how they found inspiration for music. Unfortunately, the show was mainly how their lives were a train wreck: affairs, drugs, thieving managers, tragic diseases, and tragic accidents involving planes or trains. I vividly remember watching the one on Wilson Phillips where Carnie Wilson talked about what a horrible father she had and how mean he was to her. I don’t know why this burned into my brain, but I felt so sorry for her. And it made me not like her dad. I couldn’t stop loving the Beach Boys, but I knew that guy was a bad dude.

When the film ended and I emerged from the emotional roller coaster, I felt terrible for Brain Wilson. Again, great writing paired with amazing acting can change a person. For the record, I still am not a Brian Wilson fan and I will always be a Beach Boys fan. I didn’t care that Paul Dano and John Cusack look nothing alike, because their mannerisms and speech patterns were similar. They were both heartbreaking and completely genuine in expressing the pain they were independently experiencing. Paul Giamatte is legitimately horrifying as the psychotic psychiatrist Eugene. This is not a movie you want to see when you’re feeling overly emotional. It is definitely worth seeing.

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