Review Detail

9.6 7 10
FanMix February 02, 2016 4894
(Updated: May 31, 2017)
Overall rating
Audio/Video Quality
Audio Editing
Visual Editing
Brian Wilson biopic LOVE & MERCY normally jumps between the ‘60s and ‘80s, but TM2YC’S edit focuses solely on the recording of PET SOUNDS, “Good Vibrations” and SMILE in the ‘60s. The original film’s more straightforward ‘80s story – about Wilson’s wife-to-be rescuing him from the control of his psychologist – has been cut.

There’s still plenty of conflict for Wilson in the edit: pressure from his father and his cousin to write hits; pressure to live up to his idol Phil Spector and to compete with the Beatles; and he was just beginning to hear disembodied voices after experimenting with drugs.

The addition of four deleted scenes fleshes out the drama so that the ‘60s material works better and can stand as its own film.

TM2YC also adds new titles, performs nips and tucks on various scenes, and does extensive audio work – all impeccable to my eyes and ears (save for one notable grammar error in the closing narration cards).

But the most important difference in THE BRIAN WILSON SESSIONS is the overall experience. In the original, Wilson suffers a breakdown and then finds redemption in love. In the edit, he is left broken at film’s end.

The edit is fascinating, affecting and difficult to watch. TM2YC helps pull the film back from the brink of despair by removing a couple of composer Atticus Ross’ queasy soundscapes (one is brilliantly replaced by the instrumental “Let’s Go Away for Awhile”).

Yet somehow, I wanted THE BRIAN WILSON SESSIONS to show Wilson, well, a little more love and mercy. Of course, there’s no use pretending he had an easy time of it. But a few further changes might have captured the sweetness of his music and created a more loving portrait of the man.

Some ideas (take ‘em or leave ‘em): “Our Prayer” could be played in full as an overture, so that the track’s feeling can sink in before Brian meets Phil Spector (a great opening scene); Brian’s first time trying LSD could be moved before the first time he hears voices (to better show what I understand to be cause and effect); and the closing narration cards could include some info on Brian’s mental health diagnoses, rather than just info on the music’s critical and commercial success.

It’s one thing to read about Wilson’s experiences in the ‘60s – it’s another to be given a window into his experiences, which TM2YC’s edit accomplishes. “What caused Brian Wilson’s breakdown?” is a question without a simple answer, and THE BRIAN WILSON SESSIONS gives the best answer I’ve seen so far.

User Review

Do you recommend this edit?
Format Watched?
Top 500 Reviewer 10 reviews
Report this review Was this review helpful? 0 0


Already have an account? or Create an account