Biopic “Love & Mercy” Applies Musical Genius of Brian Wilson to Cinematic Storytelling

There is a moment late in the second act of the Brian Wilson biopic Love & Mercy where everyone is celebrating the success of the Good Vibrations single and lyricist Van Dyke Parks is tasked with describing the next project, which Brian wants to call SMiLE. Parks describes it as a mixture of various artists ranging from Phil Spektor to Beethoven (I have no chance of re-producing the exact sequence here, and can’t find it online, but it is a cool little line). Similarly, Love & Mercy can be described as a mishmash of Amadeus, A Beautiful Mind, and Shine – with elements of One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and even 2001: A Space Odyssey. That is rarefied air, but entirely deserved, and the film should please both die-hard fans of The Beach Boys as well as general audiences with its unique style of musical storytelling and parallel story structure.
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