- Feb 21, 2013
"Love and Mercy," the current movie release based on the biography of Brian Wilson, of Beach Boys band fame, depicts a troubled gifted young musician and song writer beset by mental health problems. In the movie, Brian was also beset by a controlling abusive dad, a competitive and strong-willed cousin who was part of the band, and later, a psychiatrist who tried to control him and his money. Pipes come into the movie through Brian's dad, who was physically abusive when his sons were small, and later emotionally abusive as Brian became more unsteady and vulnerable with his mental health and substance abuse problems. The dad is always clutching a pipe, his mouth groping for it in a particularly forlorn gesture of neediness and hunger, to control and devour his sons. This is no advertisement nor encouragement to smoke a pipe. It is a kind of parody of the habit, probably picked up for the film as a way to reinforce the time frame of the movie, and to give the actor who plays the dad a physical prop. The "villains" in the movie -- the dad, the cousin, and the shrink -- are all superbly played and give the film the weight and tension it requires.