Most of us associate the Beach Boys with summer-soundtrack songs about surfing, cars and girls on the beach. And their staggering 100,000,000 records sold.
Back in the 60’s, outside the music business, we didn't realize that Brian Wilson, the creative genius who wrote most of their music, was taking his place among American greats like George Gershwin, Rodgers and Hammerstein and Burt Bacharach.
We just knew that when we pulled the sun roof back and crooned along on "Don’t Worry Baby," something deeper reeled us in: the sheer beauty and increasing complexity of the music. The constant shifting from major to minor chords that somehow captured our exuberance in the major theme of life's joys and our longing for love and mercy in a fallen, minor-themed world.
The movie Love and Mercy chronicles the story of Brian Wilson in two narrative arcs. Paul Dano plays twenty-something Brian in the 60’s at the height of his creative genius.
John Cusack plays Wilson in the 80’s—a damaged soul who slips a beautiful Cadillac saleswoman a note with three hastily written words: lonely, frightened, scared. The movie seamlessly weaves together scenes from both periods to show how Brian fell into the minor theme and couldn’t find his way out. Yet it leaves the larger story of why unexplored.