Love & Mercy is a film tribute to the life of Brian Wilson, the song writer of The Beach Boys. Although Wilson himself had very little involvement with the film, he has since called it "very factual".
Paul Dano plays the younger version and John Cusack the older. The film shows both his creative genius and his mental unravelling. His second wife, Melinda Ledbetter, played by Elizabeth Banks, was a crucial part in writing the script. The story is a sad one, and portrays the parallel stories of his life in the '60's (as The Beach Boys were getting famous) and the '80's (when Wilson was in decline). It also shows his relationship with his pyschotherapist Eugene Landy, played by the ever-brilliant Paul Giamatti, who was generally thought to be insane.
Of course, more than that, The Beach Boys defined the times with their "California sound" of distinct vocal harmonies and songs about girls, cars and surfing. As well as encouraging a fashion for Hawaiian shirt and flowers in the hair. The 1966 album Pet Sounds is still considered a classic, featuring on many best album in the World lists, including coming in at Number 2 on the Rolling Stone list of the 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (the Beatles Sgt Pepper's Lonely Heart Club Band pipped them to the top spot). People the World over still know and love their music and when you see the list you realise just how many classics they penned and recorded - here goes...
- Surfin' USA
- God Only Knows (used recently by the BBC for it's music promo)
- Wouldn't It Be Nice
- I Get Around
- Barbara Ann
- Kokomo (who can forget Tom Cruise in Cocktail..?!!)
- Surfer Girl (this Lovett Lady's personal favourite as we sang it to our girls when they were babies to get them to sleep)
If The Beach Boys isn't your musical bag then the other film biopic option for you is Amy - the Girl Behind the Name, the story of Amy Winehouse, might be more up your street. Asif Kapadia directed the film which opens with film footage of Amy singing with friends and shows her life through home videos and recorded footage through to the sad early death from alcohol poisoning in 2011 at the age of just 27. Her father Mitch has criticised the film but has still encouraged her fans to see it. Although it's likely to be a difficult piece to watch it will serve as a reminder as to her brilliance as a song writer - Back to Black is still the biggest selling album of the 21st century to date. I was fortunate to see her perform at an awards ceremony in 2004. I was not a fan beforehand due to her media reputation (and being a dance music lover) but her voice blew me away and I was shocked when she didn't win either category she was nominated in - losing out to Dido and Lemar!! Much like Brian Wilson, she was a brilliant mind brought down by her own demons but whose legacy lives on through the music. Watch, listen and enjoy.