Check out this great movie before it leaves Amazon Prime Video next week

Few genres have more well-worn tropes than the musical biopic. It is a genre that has been challenged so effectively Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story that it’s like a minor miracle that people still made them. Fortunately, sometimes the film reminds you of the power the genre can have when it’s in the right hands.

in Love and mercy, we’ll be introduced to the story of The Beach Boys’ Brian Wilson, the music connoisseur behind the band’s most enduring songs and a man who has struggled with mental illness throughout his life. The movie is is leaving Prime Video at the end of December, but here are three reasons why you should check it out before then.

It is an unconventional biopic

Instead of chronologically telling the story of Brian Wilson’s time with The Beach Boys, Love and mercy it is limited directly to two important periods in a man’s life. The first is in the 1960s, when the band were at the height of their power and Wilson wanted to make their music more experimental.

It is these experiments that will eventually lead to the band’s best work, but they also come with the onset of Brian’s mental illness, which will haunt him for decades. The second is in the 1980s, when Wilson is firmly under the thumb of his manager, who keeps him completely cut off from the rest of the world.

It features a pair of great lead performances

Lionsgate

Because Love and mercyThe story is divided into two halves, the film features not one, but two great lead actors. The Fabelmans actor Paul Dano plays Wilson in the 1960s and John Cusack plays him in the 1980s. The two shows have certain things in common, but part of what makes them great is that neither actor seems to be working too hard to imitate the other.

Both actors clearly have their own take on the character, and it’s fascinating to see how these shots interact. Dano in particular is riveting as a man who is clearly brilliant but also struggles to understand what exactly is going on inside his head.

It’s a reminder of the greatness of The Beach Boys

John Cusack in Love and Mercy.
Love and mercy Lionsgate

In the 1960s, the battle for greatness between The Beatles and The Beach Boys was intense, but as time went on, The Beatles definitely cast a longer shadow on the cultural imagination. Love and mercy it’s a reminder that Wilson was a true genius, and much of the music the band produced in its heyday was revolutionary and irresistible.

If you want a crash course in The Beach Boys, or if you’re already a fan and want to appreciate their music even more, you could do worse than turn on Love and mercy.

Love and mercy is streaming Prime Video until January 1, 2024.

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