In essence, we get to study Brian's break with sanity and his eventual healing, but by keeping the focus tight on these two moments, the film becomes emotionally exhilarating.
A wonderfully innervating cure for the common musical biopic, Bill Pohlad’s Love & Mercy vibrantly illuminates two major breakthroughs — one artistic, one personal — in the life of the Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson.
Love & Mercy is an engrossing portrait of Wilson's specific artistic inclinations, which draw from no real precedent.
Love & Mercy isn't a standard celebration nor a traditional music biopic. Instead, it's a survival story.
It’s creative and experimental in just the right spirit, though with an asymmetric flaw. The film is a kind of diptych in which one of the panels is more fully achieved than the other.
The Hollywood Reporter
A deeply satisfying pop biopic whose subject's bifurcated creative life lends itself to an unconventional structure.
Wilson, a pop savant, was chasing some kind of dragon, and as the movie toggles years forward to the scared, overmedicated Wilson of the 1980s (John Cusack, absorbingly strange in the tougher part), you sense that the dragon bit back.
The New Yorker
You feel both moved and exhausted by the distance that Wilson has to travel, musically and emotionally, before reaching the shore. That makes it, I guess, a happy ending. But then, as one of the Beach Boys remarks, on listening to “Pet Sounds,” even the happy songs are sad.
An earnest attempt to convey the essential truth of Wilson’s extraordinary career and difficult life animates both halves of the film, and both performances.
Bill Pohlad seems never to have met a metaphor he couldn't bludgeon into its most rudimentary and literal interpretation.