Nowhere Boy (2010)
Critic Consensus: Don't expect any musical insights, but this look at John Lennon's early life benefits from its restrained, low-key approach and some fine acting from Aaron Johnson.
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as John Lennon
as Mimi Smith
as Paul McCartney
as Julia Lennon
as Bobby Dykins
as Uncle George
as Marie's Friend
as Young John
as Julie (age 8)
as Jackie (age 6)
as Cunard Yank
as Guitar Shop Guy
as Cavern Bouncer
as Café Waitress
as Percy Phillips
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Critic Reviews for Nowhere Boy
Taylor-Wood has specialized in video installations and off-kilter portraits, and it was tempting to hope that her take on Lennon would unsettle and provoke. Instead, she stays resolutely on-kilter, as if awed into numbness by her subject.
The events chronicled are all longstanding Beatles legends, though director Sam Taylor-Wood manages to stage even the most portentous moments without making you feel a celestial choir is in order.
More love triangle than musical, the effective and often sweet Nowhere Boy offers a sense of the time and tension that produced John Lennon.
This portrait of a Beatle as a young man also gives filmmaker Sam Taylor-Wood, working on a thoughtful script by Matt Greenhalgh, creative room to manoeuvre, introducing us to John just as he and rock 'n' roll discover one another.
Nowhere Boy is a poignant reminder that before the world was at his command, John Lennon was a bit like you and me.
Audience Reviews for Nowhere Boy
An authentic and moving drama that takes a look at the life of a pre-Beatles 15-year-old John Lennon and mainly benefits from its sensitive narrative approach and remarkable performance by Aaron Johnson, who impresses us even if he looks nothing like the real John.
Young John Lennon is torn between his mercurial biological mother and his stuffy aunt. The only thing I learned from this film is that John Lennon was once a real prick. The movie goes to great lengths to convince us that his upbringing produced his frustration, but Lennon's reactions to his troubled circumstances seem over-the-top, and we're not given many reasons to find him interesting. The plot languishes in exposition, and the final reveals about Julia's history don't surprise any discerning audience. Kristin Scott Thomas can do anything, and she gives a fantastic performance, but Aaron Johnson plays youthful angst with all the brattiness of a misbehaving kid at Wal Mart. I suppose that a more traditional biopic, with an older Lennon reminiscing on the travails of his life, might have been more compelling, and perhaps Beatles fans fill in this "front-story," but I judge a film based more on what is on the screen rather than context. Overall, there is nothing new about this story for most people, but perhaps a cadre of Beatles fans will find Lennon's history interesting.
Good performance by Aaron Johnson - capturing the Lennon spirit without really looking like him at all - and, (of course), a great one from Kristin Scott Thomas, but otherwise, the film's rather dull. It's almost too thorough, and it comes out more precious and hero-worshipping than it does hard-hitting. Lennon's boyhood doesn't seem so tough, frankly, and unlike a lot of great musician biopics, we don't see the life channel into the music; we come to understand more about the man, but not much more about his art. The result? A fairly boring letdown.
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