Doesn’t have a point of view;
Knows not where he’s going to;
Isn’t he a bit like you and me?
I’ve been a Beatles fan for years. It all started when I was in middle school and I caught a rerun of the Anthology special over Thanksgiving break. I was skeptical about a biopic tackling the life of John Lennon and the start of the group. It had been tried, and now that I had the anthology on DVD, what could a movie give me that the documentary could not? But the reviews kept coming up roses so I added it to my Netflix list and finally got a chance to watch Nowhere Boy tonight. Beatles or not, this was a beautiful movie about a young man searching for direction during those precious teen years.
The thing I really enjoyed about this movie was that they did not make excuses for Lennon, or paint him as a saint. He was the way he was. You could see what traits he inherited from his mother, learned from his aunt, and arose due to his situation growing up feeling unwanted. But there are no apologies made. It’s just his story.
The movie spans about 3 years, but movies very quickly (only 1 hr 38 mins) but the script is so tight that the time just flies by. Aaron Johnson was amazing as John, and Kristen Scott Thomas was perfect as Aunt Mimi. Anne-Marie Duff did a great job with Julia, a woman who clearly had some issues but tried to had them behind a smile. It was great to see these women brought to life. I read a lot of Beatles bios back in the day, and while these two were always prominently mentioned when discussing John’s story, but this film made me really see them for the first time, breathing life into the black & white photos that are always included in the books and Anthology documentary (and also flash by at the end of the film before the credits roll).
Biggest surprise was Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Paul McCartney. I could have watched an entire movie of the boys touring Hamburg because I really felt the relationship between Johnson and Sangster as Lennon and McCartney really worked. There was one scene at the end that I just loved, where you can almost see Paul slip into that special place in John’s heart and become more than just a bandmate, but a brother of sorts. And I felt both boys handled it perfectly
I don’t think you have to be a Fab Four Fangirl like me to enjoy this movie. There is no pre-requisites for viewing this movie. It’s well written, directed, and acted and will keep you interested for the entire run time. A story of love, redemption, tragedy, loss — one that can only be told because it’s a true story; if they tried to make it up, it would be unbelievable. It’s another story that proves that it doesn’t matter what decade you grow up in, what country you live in – being a teenager is a strange time for everyone as you try to find a place.