Brian Wilson: Love and Mercy - Los Angeles Post-ExaminerLos Angeles Post-Examiner

Brian Wilson: Love and Mercy

I went to see a screening of Love and Mercy with my brother and sister-in-law at the Walker Art Museum in Minneapolis. For the next two days my sister-in-law told everybody she met she was sure it would win the Oscar for best picture. It is a story about Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys.


We were lucky because the director, Bill Pohlad, who happens to be a Minnesota native, was there that night. His family is well known in Minnesota. They have owned the Twins baseball franchise since 1984. Bill is mainly known as a producer and as a producer already has one best picture Oscar under his belt, 12 Years a Slave in 2013.

After the screening he graciously answered everybody’s questions and added pieces of information about the movie. He said he spent a lot of time with Brian Wilson and took time to make sure Brian was aware of everything they were doing. He wasn’t sure if Brian actually read the script so he invited him to sit for readings so he could be sure Brian was following along. Bill still wasn’t sure Brian had been paying attention but several days later he received a call from Brian with lots of comments.

Bill said he was not there for Brian’s first screening because Brian asked to see it alone. The second time they watched it together and Brian was very pleased with it.

Paul Dano plays the young Brian Wilson where the film concentrates on the music and the creative process as well as the beginning of the voices in Brian’s head. Paul does an excellent job of portraying the childlike wonder and creative genius along with the anxiety that live inside of Brian.


Brian Wilson


John Cusack plays the older Brian who still has his childlike qualities and love of music but is being tormented by his therapist, an abusive, power hungry man played by Paul Giamatti as Dr. Eugene Landy. When Brian goes car shopping he runs into a saleswoman named Melinda Ledbetter, played by Elizabeth Banks. That was a lucky day for him because she is the one who helps save him from Landy. This second part of the movie is shown from Melinda’s point of view.

At the end we see a montage through Brian’s eyes reviewing his life from a young child up to the present reliving difficult moments and in the end he comes out of it with a sense of resolution accepting who he is.

Even though Wilson had an abusive father, an abusive therapist and plenty of tragedy in his life, the film comes off as very positive.

Be sure to stay for the credits because at the end the real Brian Wilson is singing his song, “Love and Mercy.”

The movie will be released June 5. It is an independent film so go see it and tell all your friends.

About the author

Kathy Gamble

Kathleen Gamble was born and raised overseas and has traveled extensively. She has a BA in Spanish and has worked in publishing, printing, desktop publishing, translating, and purchasing. She also designs and creates her own needlepoint. She started journaling at a young age and her memoir, Expat Alien, came out of those early journals. Over the years she has edited and produced an American Women’s Organization cookbook in Moscow, Russia, and several newsletters. Her first book, Expat Alien, was published in 2012 and she recently published a cookbook, 52 Food Fridays, both available on You can also follow her blog at Contact the author.

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