~Downstairs at the Savoy~
Love & Mercy
6:00 & 8:15 each evening
1:00 & 3:30 matinees Saturday, 7/4
1:00 only matinee Sunday, 7/5
Rated PG-13;119 minutes
John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter (excerpted)
A deeply satisfying pop biopic whose subject's creative life lends itself to an unconventional structure, director Bill Pohlad's Love & Mercy spends time with Brian Wilson both while his mental illness was a storm gathering on the Beach Boys' horizon and years later, as he tried to break away from a doctor who was using that illness to control his life.
Balancing the emotionally involving drama in that later story with the thrilling musical creation in the earlier one, the picture would be exciting even if all it offered was the vision of Paul Dano's Wilson guiding musicians through the creation of Pet Sounds; but as the older Wilson, John Cusack gives one of the best performances of his career.
Unlike most music biographies, this one has no real interest in showing its hero performing for adoring crowds. It understands Wilson's desire to "play the studio," making perfect records instead of living off the energy of an audience. It never needs to explain how well suited the artist's particular gifts were to the anxieties that crippled the man.