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32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Nowhere Boy
I went to see this last night and thought it the best film I've seen in a while.

Yes, it's surprising that Taylor-Wood went for a fairly conventional approach instead of something more avant-garde (and possibly pretentious), but I'd glad she did as the resulting film is a gem. I don't agree with Robert Machin's comment that this film was "ordinary"--I found it...
Published on 29 Dec 2009 by Welshcake

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars not bad
not a bad film if you are like me a beatles/lennon fan.
lennon is portrayed quite well and the story line keeps you watching,however in my opinion there is nothing that makes the film outstanding.
i managed to borrow from my local library and yes enjoyed the film but i wouldant personally buy
Published on 18 July 2010 by Mrs. C. Casson


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars biopic film, 5 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Nowhere Boy [DVD] (DVD)
Really not our kind of story, of interest as it showed the early days of J Lennon and Paul but watching others angst ridden pasts is not always comfortable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent amazon, 22 Nov 2013
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This review is from: Nowhere Boy [DVD] (DVD)
great film had it recorded on sky box but lost it. glad to have been able to get it for good low price and delivered so quickly
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Why couldn't God make me Elvis?", 3 Oct 2011
By 
@GeekZilla9000 "I am completely operational a... (Doncaster, Yorkshire, UK.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Nowhere Boy [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
As a teenager I idolised John Lennon to the point of obsession, I devoured every biography and bought dozens of cheap VHS documentaries - but Nowhere Boy is a refreshing look at Lennon from a very different angle.

The trailers are quick to focus on the introduction of John and Paul, however Nowhere Boy isn't the story of the Beatles - this is the story of how a young John Lennon started to forge a relationship with his estranged mother and start to direct his creative talents towards his love of rock and roll. The strength of this film is how it manages to feel like a family drama set in the mid-to-late fifties, every now and then you remember that this is John Lennon but he is depicted as a normal young man with an unsettled past rather than a legend in the making. But when his musical ambitions start to take flight with good friend and musically gifted Paul McCartney there's magic in the air, and Lennon's poetic talents turn them from rock n roll wannabes into a formidable partnership - and that all takes place after the events of this film which concludes with Lennon and co. starting their Hamburg tour.

Aaron Johnson might not have the perfect scouse accent but his singing captures the essence of the early Lennon sound and he certainly looks the part. He manages to bring a cocky arrogance to the screen but it's clear that there's an underlying vulnerability, a fragility caused by his mother abandoning him. The sets and locations all look authentic, and images I've seen many times as grainy black and white photos in various books and biographies are brought to life, such as the Quarrymen performing their skiffle act. Kudos has to go to Sam Taylor-Wood for not falling down the usual traps you see during a biopic; instead of clumsily shoe-horning future lyrics into the script in the misguided hope it will appeal to fans (instead it just seems tacky) the story develops naturally and stands well on its own rather than relying on the fame factor of the subject. This is very much a look at Lennon's relationship with his Aunt mimi and his mother, at first Mimi is the stereotypical battle-axe but her character develops into a believably multi-faceted woman, we eventually see beneath her tough exterior and she becomes surprisingly involved in some of the most emotional scenes from the film. Though this is a film about John, it isn't too proud to depict McCartney as the most gifted, musically speaking, and fans who know McCartney's left handed guitar playing will appreciate the joke about him holding it the wrong way round. Nowhere Boy is perhaps guilty of avoiding the darker side of Lennon, he was often cruel and like it or not it was part of his make-up as a youth. Some relationships (such as Stuart Sutcliffe and Cynthia) aren't really dealt with but the film doesn't suffer for it - focusing on the triangle of John, Mimi, and mother Julia gives a great insight into John's home life. Though it has to be said that myself and others noticed something of a sexual tension with John and his mother at points which felt a bit odd, but I suppose it highlights the awkwardness of their relationship at times.

This Blu-Ray release looks good without being earthshattering. Details and textures are rendered well, the overall picture has a tint to give it a 50s feel (it works well) and every so often a colour really jumps out at you - this is presumably a creative decision and is most noticeable when Julia is on screen, she is always described as someone who stood out from the crowd and the picture delivers that. The release does disappoint in the bonus features department though - there are a couple of short documentaries but they aren't too insightful, given the subject matter there was scope for some meaty stuff here - but maybe they consider that it's all been said before elsewhere.

In a nutshell: it's difficult to create a biopic of a larger than life legend and make them feel real, it's all-too-easy to get caught up in the iconic nostalgia and forget that they were a person, like everyone else. Sam Taylor-Wood's Nowhere Boy manages to bring an early Lennon to life in a way which doesn't glorify him - instead it plays like a kitchen sink drama. The actual word "Beatles" doesn't appear in this film, that's a brave move but one which needed to be made - this is the story of John Lennon's coming of age, his musical career really took off *after* the credits roll, and the best way to experience that is to stick some of those early mono albums on play.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for any John Lennon fan, 2 Mar 2011
This review is from: Nowhere Boy [DVD] (DVD)
Nowhere Boy [DVD] [2009]
This film is an amazing portrayal of John Lennon's teenage years in the run up to the fame and fortune which were to come his way. The acting is superb with Aaron Johnson stealing the show, as an actor he is bound to go far, and he has excellent support from co-stars Anne-Marie Duff and Kristin Scott-Thomas who play his mother and aunt respectively. This movie explores the reasons why Lennon was such a complex character and one can easily empathise with the young lad who must have grown up feeling very bitter and unwanted. If like me you appreciate the genius of John Lennon then this movie comes highly recommended as it's as close to the truth as it gets. However, for the duration of the film I personally felt an all consuming sadness being only too aware of how the John Lennon story came to a prematurely abrupt end.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars All you need is love, 2 Feb 2011
By 
Kona (Emerald City) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Nowhere Boy [DVD] (DVD)
The year is 1957, and 16-year old Liverpool lad John Lennon (Aaron Johnson) is miserable. He hates school and his strict aunt Mimi (Kristin Scott-Thomas) and his mother who abandoned him when he was five. Then he meets his mother again and although she's a little odd, he loves having a mum again, while his auntie isn't so sure.

This little film tells the interesting and sad story of Lennon's childhood and his search for maternal love. Unfortunately, Johnson not only lacks charisma, he doesn't look or sound anything like John and that was a big disappointment. I had to keep reminding myself who he was supposed to be; this could have been about any unhappy young man and I was expecting more. The actors who play Paul and George look nothing like them, either; if they didn't call each other by name, you'd never know who was who. Scott Thomas is absolutely wonderful playing a tough and seemingly cold woman who really loves John but is unable to show it; her scenes are the most dramatic and enjoyable.

The period is recreated well with costumes, hair styles, music, and set decoration. Lennon's fans will enjoy learning why he became interested in music in the first place, how he got his first guitar, and how he formed his first band. All in all, it's a good story, but not a memorable one. 3.5 stars.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Engaging on the early days of John Lennon, 6 Dec 2010
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Purpleheart (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Nowhere Boy [DVD] (DVD)
'This is a Sam Taylor-Wood film' comes up on the screen at the start - which I found fairly alarming. It's also her first and only film I felt like telling the same screen. I wish I hadn't known that Sam T-W and Aaron Johnson who plays the young John Lennon formed a romantic relationship and have since had a child together. This caused comment since she was 42 at the time and he was 19. I wish I hadn't known because I found myself wondering about if and how it had impacted her directing choices. The answer isn't clear. So, sorry if you didn't already know that and will be pondering the same.

Perhaps the stongest part of the film is the triangulated relationship between John, his mother and his aunt. Anne-Maire Duff and Kristen Scott Thomas are excellent as sisters Julia and Mimi who both have a hand in raising John. The sisters are unalike; Mimi almost stereotypically stiff upper lip and Julia living the sixties before they've arrived. John doesn't see his mother from the age of five till he's sixteen and is infatuated with her when he does meet her - to the point where there is some erotic tension.

The music is less central, in this film it's Julia who interests John in rock and roll and teaches him the banjo. His motivation is, at first, more about impressing his mother and girls in general than a burning interest in music. Baby-faced Thomas Sangster plays Paul McCartney and does a good job - although he physically looks too small and young in comparison to Johnson's Lennon.

I enjoyed the film, and the screenplay holds up as a workable drama even without the interest of it being John Lennon's life. It's not that interesting from a cinematic point of view but it's workmanlike and well paced and held my interest throughout.

The DVD has good extras on Lennon's Liverpool, an interview with Sam T-W, the cinema trailer and deleted scenes.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very enjoyable and well-made, 26 May 2010
This review is from: Nowhere Boy [DVD] (DVD)
Having watched Nowhere Boy on DVD (not in the cinema) I can report that I was pleasantly surprised at its quality. The central character of Lennon is played well by Aaron Johnson, an actor still only aged 19 at the time of writing. He captures the look and attitude and is very believable. The actresses Kristin Scott Thomas and Anne-Marie Duff are equally convincing in their roles of Lennon's aunt Mimi and mother Julia. The story explores his loss of a traditional childhood and the channelling of his energies and experiences into music. The film is very well paced and is successful at recreating the feel of Liverpool in the 50s/60s. I particularly enjoyed the generous extras that detail the making of the film, and the thoughts of the director, cast members and production team, and contributed to understanding their great achievement in realising quite an ambitious project. Recommended.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nowhere Boy, 8 Jan 2012
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This review is from: Nowhere Boy [DVD] (DVD)
**Spoilers!**

I can't help but feel this film was a little bit of a wasted opportunity. There is so much from John's early, pre-Beatlemania days that could have been explored but didn't seem to be... at least not fully.

The film is mostly based on Julia Baird's (John's half sister) book, 'Imagine This' and explores John's (largely disfunctional) relationship with his mother before her death.

Firstly, the good points - Kirsten Scott Thomas as John's Aunt Mimi is excellent, as is Anne-Marie Duff as his mother. Aaron Johnson is fair as the teenage John Lennon, although he is rather overly angst filled and moody - not really as I would have thought John to be. The music is good, and the overall narrative and script is too.

The bad points for me where the bending of actuality - I think some facts (although I'm not 100% sure) have been altered for narrative ease - such as the death of John's Uncle George, I don't think it was quite as depicted in terms of where John was and how old he was when he died, and as far as I know, Julia was not at the country fete when Paul and John met (but I could be wrong). I didn't like the depiction of Paul much - I think the lad who plays him looked far too young and was a bit wet, and the same with George, who except for a rushed scene on the top deck of a bus, isn't really featured at all. Also, where were Stuart Sutcliffe? Cynthia? Or is this before they met - the film doesn't really say.

In my book, Backbeat is superior to Nowhere Boy, and a more accurate picture of the real John Lennon, but overall Nowhere Boy is still a good, watchable film.
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4.0 out of 5 stars The Beginings of a Legend, 21 July 2014
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Cavernguy (West Midlands) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Nowhere Boy [DVD] (DVD)
Quite impressed with this film. Do not usually like this sort of film, and being a huge Lennon fan was a reluctant to watch it. This film sees Lennon up to the point of the first trip to Germany. Having done the Magical Mystery Tour on my last visit to Liverpool it was easy to recognise the locations.The story of the boy who became a man...and (after the point this fim ends)...the man who became a superstar...and the superstar who became a legend. RIP John.
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1.0 out of 5 stars An Advertisement for 'Big Tobacco'., 26 Oct 2014
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This review is from: Nowhere Boy - DVD (DVD)
Don't bother with this rubbish, no one in it is even vaguely like who they're supposed to be. The cat and dog down the street look more like Lennon and McCartney. This waste of time and money should've been titled 'The Marlboro Boy', it's just a vehicle for the tobacco industry to peddle their wares. Be warned, don't bother.
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Nowhere Boy [DVD]
Nowhere Boy [DVD] by Sam Taylor Wood (DVD - 2010)
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