Love and Mercy

Love and Mercy

Courtesy Photo

AUSTIN - Somehow, after everything, Brian Wilson still seems youthful. At 72 he's seen and been through plenty: mega-success, pop genius status, mental breakdown and rebirth. And there he was Sunday morning, alongside star John Cusack and director Bill Pohlad, talking about the U.S. premiere of Love & Mercy.

Love & Mercy, which will also play the Dallas International Film Festival in April and open this summer, takes a novel and emotionally resonant approach to the Wilson story. Paul Dano plays the Beach Boys leader as a young man, forging ahead with the mind-blowing sounds of Pet Sounds and "Good Vibrations" as he starts to crack up. Cusack plays him in an '80s storyline, which finds him down and out, pharmaceutically abused by his doctor, Eugene Landy (Paul Giamatti), and encouraged by the love of a lady (Elizabeth Banks).

"I was scared as hell to see me as a drug addict," Wilson said Sunday. "My doctor, Dr. Landy, was hell to be with."

Wilson still exudes a sense of aching vulnerability, a quality Dano absolutely nails. I got goose bumps watching the film's recreation of the Pet Sounds and "Good Vibrations" sessions (both of which feature musicians from The Wrecking Crew, the subject of a killer documentary now in theaters). These scenes conjure the sensation of magic in a bottle, unrepeatable flashes of musical nirvana.  

Meanwhile, if you want to see the real deal, Wilson's upcoming tour will bring him to the Verizon Theater at Grand Prairie June 24. Keep the good vibrations coming.

What's Happening on GuideLive