Easily the saddest story I’ve seen this year, Love and Mercy chronicles the beginning of Beach Boy Brian Wilson’s head trip and his later courtship with his wife, Melinda (Elizabeth Banks). I seriously doubted John Cusack as Wilson—even more because he looks nothing like Paul Dano, who plays young Wilson. My doubts proved wrong, because it works. Paul Giamatti plays a wonderfully evil physician with power of attorney over Wilson. Flashbacks to earlier days are effective and purposeful, unlike Saint Laurent. I have no idea how much was accurate literal history, but it thoroughly engrossed me.
Director Bill Pohlad’s previous films include Brokeback Mountain, 12 Years a Slave, and Wild.
(Landmark Century) A