I just did a phoner with Love & Mercy director Bill Pohlad, who was calling from his home in Minneapolis. We covered the usual bases. I emphasized that it would be a shame if his film isn’t released this year, at least on a platform basis, so as to qualify for awards and nominations and whatnot. (Pic was acquired during TIFF by Lionsgate/Roadside.) I went apeshit for Love and Mercy and particularly Paul Dano’s phenomenal performance as the younger version of Brian Wilson. The film time-flips between the mid ’60 and mid ’80s; John Cusack plays a 40-something Wilson in the ’80s portion. As Variety‘s Andrew Barker wrote, Love & Mercy is “a wonderfully innervating cure for the common musical biopic.” Again, the mp3.
Paul Dano in mid ’60s Brian Wilson mode, Bill Pohlad during filming of Love & Mercy.
“Once in a while, though, you see a biopic that brings off something miraculous, that recreates a famous person’s life with so much care that the immersion we seek is achieved. When you watch Love & Mercy, a drama about Brian Wilson, the angelic yet haunted genius of The Beach Boys, you feel like you’re right there in the studio with him as he creates Pet Sounds. And it’s a little like sitting next to Beethoven: the film is tender and moving, but also awe-inspiring. Paul Dano, the audacious young actor from There Will Be Blood and Little Miss Sunshine, plays Wilson in the mid-1960s, when he was becoming the greatest creative force in American pop music. The moment we see Dano in the film’s daringly off-kilter opening shot, which is just Brian noodling around at the piano and talking to himself, the actor seems to transform into Wilson’s very being. The pale, cute moon face, the smile with a hint of a grimace, the disarming spaciness — this isn’t just acting, it’s channeling of a very high order.” — from Owen Gleiberman’s 9.11 BBC.com review.