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Love & Mercy

Director:  Bill Pohlad
Year Released:  2014
Rating:  1.0

Young composer Brian Wilson (Paul Dano) experiences extreme mental duress while coming up with new tunes for his familial outfit The Beach Boys; as an adult (John Cusack) his life is micromanaged by the cruel Dr. Landy (Paul Giamatti), who interferes with his romance with car saleswoman Melinda Ledbetter (Elizabeth Banks). Although it's nice that Pohlad and his screenwriters tried to keep it "as close to truth as possible" (as nigh-impossible a task as that is) it does play out as another "Tortured Artist" movie - genius generally being accompanied by madness, leading to Dano and Cusack having to behave 'eccentrically' - with the flip-flopping of time frames playing out awkwardly. I'm also detecting - perhaps wrongly - an anti-psychiatry stance in this (only announcing in a closing title card that a different set of doctors later helped Wilson improve), emphasizing that love and music can cure a person: a dreamy if false notion.

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