This lyric comes from the popular Beach Boys song "Wouldn't It Be Nice," one of the many recognizable tunes from their highly regarded album "Pet Sounds." It's hard to believe that the album initially was unsuccessful in the United States. I always thought it was a major success right from the start due to it being regarded as one of the greatest albums of all-time. Paul McCartney has even noted that "God Only Knows," another track from the album, is his favorite song of all-time.
These are just a few facts I learned from "Love and Mercy," the phenomenal and criminally underseen musical biography of the great Brian Wilson, the true genius behind the success of the Beach Boys. The films shows Wilson at two points in his life: the early days when he strived to break apart from the surfer music with "Pet Sounds," then later on when he is much older and under 24-hour care from a therapist with extremely questionable methods.
The film is carried by some of the most honest, emotional performances of the year. As young Brian, Paul Dano not only looks the part, but he conveys the real struggle Wilson started to face. He also sings a little bit in the film, and he sounds very much like Wilson. Dano is a true talent, one of the more underrated actors working in Hollywood today. This is his film to really shine, and he steals every scene he is in. Same goes fro John Cusack, who has been around forever. He has done many films, and he is great in them, even if they stink ("Hot Tub Time Machine" comes to mind first). As Wilson in the 80s, we see him under the unorthodox care of Dr. Eugene Landy (Paul Giamatti, delivering another outstanding performance). Overmedicated and under constant watch, Wilson hardly has a life at this point. It is only when he meets Melinda Ledbetter (Elizabeth Banks in her best role yet) that he actually gets the real help he needs and deserves. The chemistry between Cusack and Banks is quite possibly the best I have ever seen in a film. You feel true love and emotion between these two.
As I watched the film, I saw a fascinating life unfold before my eyes. I wasn't watching actors in a scripted film; I was watching something real. It was as if I was watching a documentary. Nothing negative can be said about this film; it's flawless. The shift between time periods was flawless; I barely noticed it.
Could the Oscars for Best Actor, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress please just be handed out now? You won't find better performances in these categories. Paul Dano, John Cusack, and Elizabeth Banks give the best performances of the year and their careers. They ARE the people they portray; there is no "acting" here.
With big-budget, lower-quality films like "Avengers" and "Jurassic World" dominating the box office, it is unfortunate that this film has been swept under the rug. It barely played at any theater in its initial release, and it is now currently playing at a second-run theater in my area. Do yourself a favor and find where this is playing. Heck, I will even help you! Demand it at your theater! This is THE film of 2015. I will be in shock if I see a flick better than this in 2015.