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Nowhere Boy [DVD]
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Sam Taylor Wood's directorial debut is a chronicle of John Lennon's teenage years. Set in 1950s Liverpool, the film tells the story of the spirited but troubled fifteen-year-old Lennon (Aaron Johnson), who finds himself caught in the crossfire between his formidable Aunt Mimi (Kristin Scott Thomas) and his mother Julia (Anne-Marie Duff). When John meets fellow musician and kindred spirit Paul McCartney (Thomas Sangster), his creative genius at last finds an outlet and the most famous partnership in music is born. But just as John's new life begins, a dark truth from his past leads to a tragedy he will never escape.
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Top Customer Reviews
The film is pretty much perfectly cast - Kristin Scott Thomas and Anne-Marie Duff are wonderful as sisters Mimi and Julia, one very austere and outwardly frosty, the other more flighty and fun but deeply troubled beneath the surface. Meanwhile, relative newcomer Aaron Johnson captures the spirit and swagger of Lennon perfectly without ever feeling like he's attempting an impersonation, and does an excellent job of carrying the film. Equally good is Thomas Sangster as Paul McCartney, who gives a great performance but perhaps doesn't quite convince in the same way as his co-star.
Films such as these have their pitfalls - for instance, it would be easy to simply provide a checklist of important moments in Lennon's life, and little else. Whilst the film doesn't shy away from detailing these iconic moments, the focus is very much on the relationship between John, Mimi and Julia, and is all the stronger for it. As such, it slightly rewrites a few details for the sake of coherence, but none of these stick out as a problem, and usually serve the narrative well. Although the period detail and Taylor-Wood's confident direction makes this an excellent film, it's the performances and characters that really make it something special. Whether you're a die-hard Beatles fan, or someone who knows nothing about them, you can still enjoy this film - and I suspect you will.
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 intensely powerful and moving. It's this emotional heart which lifts the film above the average and marks Taylor-Wood as a director to watch out for.
Every performance was excellent with Duff and Scott-Thomas outstandingly good. Matt Greenhalgh's scripting was perfectly balanced and never once lapsed into melodrama (although perhaps it very nearly teetered on the edge once).
Well worth a trip to the cinema.
Well acted bio of John Lennon whilst a teenager growing up with his aunt and finding his real mother in his late teens.
I don't think many fans would know JL at this age, but I thought Aaron Johnson seemed to capture his cockiness and quick wit. Those times in the movie where this is shown are some of the best bits, but I felt that the JL character as written was silent too often at times when you would have thought he would have had something to say. Kristin Scott Thomas and Ann Marie Duff as his Aunt Mimi and mum Julia respectively were also excellent and particularly AMD stood out as the free spirited but fragile Julia. David Threlfall is great as his Uncle George, playing the joker and being more friendly with young John, compared to stern Aunt Mimi.
Not so good ...
I thought the sex scene was a little too explicit for the context of the movie and didn't feel right. You certainly wouldn't want to watch it with your mum or aunt!
I have to agree with some others that Thomas Brodie Sangster was a bit of wimpy kid as Paul McCartney, and whilst well acted was too much of a contrast to Johnson's mature, good looking Lennon.
The story verges on the melodramatic at times, but manages to stay just the right side.
It is not about the 'famous' JL or much about the Beatles either, and if it wasn't about JL it would be a fairly ordinary tale, of a rebellious teen growing up in 50's Liverpool, which may annoy some people expecting a bit more about the formation of the Beatle's and a bit more of their music. There was little of this if any in the film.
I would like to see a film about the formation of the Beatle's, and their rise to fame and to break up- now that would be really interesting.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
es the best film I have seen of the beatles before they were famousPublished 1 month ago by David Wright
I bought this. However when it arrived it was in Spanish, nowhere did it indicate it was in a foreign language.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I've just watched this and this sort of drama makes me sick. Why do people who make these historical dramas constantly refer to subjects that only now we would know but at the time... Read morePublished 2 months ago by edward swinfield
Thoroughly enjoyed the film. It certainly was a turbulent time for the young Lennon finding his way in life. Knowing what he wanted to do in life and sticking to it.Published 3 months ago by Alex, York
Surprisingly good. A bit mawkish here and there, but he started it. Very well acted and cast.Published 3 months ago by acustomer
I bought region 1 & 2 for my girlfriend and I think she'll love it. Thanks.
Anyways, This is a great movie, me and her love it, it really gives you a taster of what the... Read more