Love and Mercy: The Brian Wilson Sessions

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9.8
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This is a superb fanedit. I was let down by "Love & Mercy" simply because John Cusack was completely wrong as Brian Wilson, so I was glad that TM2YC came around and shifted the focus of the film to the heart and soul of it all. And the attention to detail that TM2YC put into this is commendable. Almost any other faneditor might just slap together a handful of Pet Sounds tracks to use here and there, but TM2YC found the exact right version of which tracks to use from the various "Sessions" and "Rarities" collections released through the years. My favorite added bit of music was "Nowhere Man" softly playing in the background in one scene. My ear picked up on that touch and i SMiLED.
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9.2
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10.0
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10.0
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9.0
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8.0
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9.0
TM2YC's "Love and Mercy" edit is the way this movie should be seen. Without the bloat of the less successful Cusack scenes weighing it down, it's now a tighter, more focused story about an artist's journey.

It starts off with a bang: Putting that Phil Spector scene up top was a stroke of brilliance, as it sets up Brian's motivation for the rest of the movie.

However, I would've liked to have seen a little more mercilessness with the editing knife -- restoring scenes from the cutting room floor sometimes causes a few redundant moments. And the ending montage, while expertly cut, could've ended a few shots earlier.

But those are tinsy nitpicky things. By removing the "older Brian" section, the movie is no longer a so-so -- if more marketable -- "love conquers all" story. This is now a leaner story about Brian's opus. To borrow a Beach Boys analogy, TM2YC has turned Smiley Smile back into SMiLE.

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(Updated: May 31, 2017)
Overall rating
 
9.2
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
9.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
8.0
Enjoyment
 
9.0
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.

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Overall rating
 
9.2
Audio/Video Quality
 
10.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
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10.0
Narrative
 
8.0
Enjoyment
 
8.0
This edit introduced me to the Beach Boys before I even watched it, now they are probably my favourite band!

I consider the theatrical cut to be a great film, much more interesting than the standard "Walk Hard" biopic formula, and the edit on the whole succeeds as a standalone piece. I showed it to someone else fresh and they said that they would have had no idea that it was derived from a longer film.

The only issues for me are that the viewer is now deprived of Paul Giamatti (Marty Wolf taking a dark turn) and that the ending feels somewhat abrupt. While this may just be me being too used to storytelling conventions, somebody less familiar with Brian Wilson's story might wonder what happened in the forty-odd year period between the end scenes and the credits with real-life footage (not that the original is in any way comprehensive).

Great technical quality overall, new edits and integration of deleted scenes not noticeable. Definitely a version that you can show people with no prior knowledge, useful if you need to save 48 minutes!

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Top 50 Reviewer 81 reviews
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Overall rating
 
10.0
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10.0
Audio Editing
 
10.0
Visual Editing
 
10.0
Narrative
 
10.0
Enjoyment
 
10.0

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