Summer is the perfect time to think about the beach…and the Beach Boys. Love & Mercy gives you the opportunity to do both.
Love & Mercy tells the story of Brian Wilson, the brilliant and troubled musician who first gave the Beach Boys their California sound, and then, not content to rest on his laurels, pushed beyond that accomplishment to produce Pet Sounds, which may be the greatest album of all time.
The movie shows Wilson descending into mental illness as he tries to reproduce the musical voices in his head. Wilson spends huge amounts of time with the members of the orchestra, perfecting each sound and detail, asking the musicians to play and replay their sounds until everything turns out the way it should. The other Beach Boys had their doubts. But time has vindicated Wilson’s musical genius.
I’ve probably listened to God Only Knows and Wouldn’t It Be Nice, two songs from Pet Sounds, a thousand times. But after seeing the movie, I hear them in completely new ways. The movie helps you understand why Wilson pushed so hard to produce those detailed sounds, and then to hear them better.
The leading stars of the movie are two women, Melinda Ledbetter (played by Elizabeth Banks) and Marilyn Wilson (played by Erin Darke), who at different stages of his life saved Wilson from depression, exploitation and the smothering of his talents. God Only Knows what he would have done without them.