Nowhere Boy Movie Review

John Lennon’s adolescent years seemed like any other young man’s of the time. He was trying to figure out who he was, what he wanted to do with his life, and, probably most importantly to him at the time, how to land girls. He was insecure, like most people are at that stage in their lives. He was willing to cause trouble and often made fun of others to protect his fragile ego. He lived with his Aunt Mimi after his mother abandoned him when he was a young child. He didn’t even know his sailor father, Alfred, until after he became a Beatle. During his transition into manhood, a major event happened in his life that would change him forever: his mother, Julia, re-entered his life. This is the period of Lennon’s life in which¬†Nowhere Boy¬†focuses.

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John (Aaron Johnson of Kick-Ass) sees his mother Julia (Anne-Marie Duff) at his Uncle George’s funeral and soon they re-connect. Much to his surprise, she has been living within walking distance of where he lives with Aunt Mimi (a very reserved Kristin Scott Thomas). Knowing that Aunt Mimi would disapprove of seeing Julia, they begin to see each other in secret. He is surprised to find that his mother is outgoing, spontaneous and incredibly fun to be around which is the exact opposite of his uptight substitute mother Aunt Mimi. The relationship between mother and son grows and has almost a flirtatious quality. This is weird, but Julia was known to be flirtatious with anyone and everyone, even flirting with John’s teenaged friends.

Julia and John share a love for music and she teaches him how to play the banjo. His Aunt Mimi buys him a guitar for his birthday and John Lennon is on his way to becoming one of the biggest names in rock and roll history. He forms the Quarrymen with some schoolmates. He meets Paul McCartney after the Quarrymen play a neighborhood gig and he soon joins the band. Paul introduces John to George Harrison who also joins the band. Paul and John bond quickly and begin to write their own music

Things are looking great for John until Aunt Mimi discovers he’s been sneaking visits to his mother’s house. Secrets from his past come to the forefront and the truth about his parents leaves an impression on young John that never goes away. For anyone familiar with John Lennon’s early life, you know how sadly the story ends, but no spoilers here.

While Aaron Johnson doesn’t particularly look or sound like John Lennon, he does capture the angst and pent up anger Lennon had during that time. He does his own singing, but sounds more like he’s trying to impersonate Buddy Holly more than Lennon. This isn’t a bad thing seeing as when Lennon first started singing he tried to impersonate both Holly and Elvis Presley and only later did he find his own voice. The supporting ladies, Anne-Marie Duff and Kristen Scott Thomas, both give powerful performances. They received nominations for Best Supporting Actress at this year’s BAFTAS, which is the British version of The Academy Awards. The first time director Sam Taylor-Wood was also nominated for Best Director and the film was nominated for Best British Film.

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