3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Psychodrama of a young star,
This review is from: Nowhere Boy [DVD] (DVD)
This is an evocative drama that captures 1950s living and attitudes with unnerving clarity. 'You might remember that you were sisters once...' chides a 17-year-old John (Aaron Johnson) at the two women warring over his guardianship and attention. John's mother Julia, played with vulnerable passion by Anne-Marie Duff has been establishing a new relationship with her son, 'stolen' at age five by the protective if less affectionate Aunt Mimi. We may be overused to Kristin Scott Thomas playing cool and somewhat aloof women, but her portrayal of Mimi Smith is beautifully poised between a necessary disciplinarian and a genuinely loving surrogate mother. I think that Duff and Thomas hold the film together brilliantly.
Between their affections, troubled teenager John struggles to feel loved in a fractured family. Aaron Johnson is believable as a middle-class lad of above-average intelligence who is a no-hoper in the eyes of his schoolmasters. Through his musical mother, John finds inspiration to take up an instrument and discover new music. Julia teaches him how to strum a banjo, Mimi (attempting to make peace) buys his first guitar but uses it as an instrument of emotional blackmail, unwittingly driving John closer to his mother.
There is a pivotal scene where the psychodrama's root is revealed - tear-jerking, and just on the right side of melodrama - and signals a short-lived reconciliation between the two women. John lives in hope...
This is a fine film. Gradually, episodes in John Lennon's life are being portrayed in digestible celluloid presentations. I'm still not sure that he was entirely reconciled to the early tragedy in his life, but I think he would have approved at this well-handled attempt to tell an unhappy story. Well done everyone.