Nowhere Boy – 2009

Nowhere Boy is a film about the early years of John Lennon. Lennon (Aaron Johnson) is a restless teen who lives with his Aunt Mimi (Kristen Scott Thomas). This is not so much a film about the beginnings of the Beatles, but Lennon’s estrangement from his mother (Anne-Marie Duff) and his attempts to re-connect with her. His mother teaches him a few chords on the banjo and John is suddenly hooked on music, learning to play the guitar and forming his own band, The Quarrymen. A young Paul McCartney sees them play and joins the band, later bringing his friend George Harrison into the fold. But at the core of this is Lennon’s relationship with the two women in his life: his mother and his aunt.

If you’re expecting to hear any Beatles music in this, you’ll be disappointed. The unmistakeable opening chord from A Hard Day’s Night rings out as the film opens, but we aren’t treated to any more Beatles music. There is plenty of rock n roll, though, with young Lennon being inspired by Elvis.

The performances are quite good in this, with a particularly superb performance from Kristen Scott Thomas. But really, would expect anything less from her? Aaron Johnson is fine, but perhaps not the ideal actor for this part – he seems to lack the intensity or something. Anne-Marie Duff is very good as Lennon’s mother, and I think Thomas Brodie Sangster makes a very sweet Paul McCartney.

This is not a major movie. There are moments where it falters, both in the screenplay and in the direction. The climatic moment of the movie is handled quite strangely and doesn’t affect you as it should. It’s a well-made film but there’s nothing particularly outstanding or interesting about it. If you’re a Beatles fan you’ll get a kick out of it, and it’s worth catching if you get the chance…but I wouldn’t buy it on DVD!

My rating:

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