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Nowhere Boy (7/10)
by Tony Medley
Run time 98 minutes
OK for children.
I have to profess my bias
before I write this review. I was a Beatlemaniac (and still am). This is
a terrifically entertaining movie. But what was jarring for me was that
Aaron Johnson, playing John Lennon, looks ten years older than Thomas
Sangster, who plays Paul McCartney. It was a surprise to learn that they
were both born in 1990, so are both the same age. Still, since Lennon
was only a year older than McCartney, the appearance of a huge age
discrepancy between the two in the film was disconcerting for me. This
is a movie and appearances are important.
But McCartney is a minor
character in this film. This is the story of Lennon’s relationship with
his mother and aunt. Set in
Liverpool in 1955, John is caught between the two women who clash over
him, Julia (Anne-Marie Duff), the charming, devil-may-care mother who
gave the infant, John, away to her sister Mimi (Kristin Scott Thomas),
the uptight Aunt who raised him. While the film shows John forming the
band that warped into The Beatles, the film is mostly about Lennon and
his relationship with the two mother-figures in his life.
Lennon lived with his Aunt
Mimi starting about his fifth year. She was a strict person who
encouraged him to apply himself to his school work and wanted him to
grow up as a middle-class boy. His birth mother, Julia, came back into
his life when he was 15. She apparently showed him rock ‘n’ roll and
taught him to play the banjo, the forerunner of learning the guitar.
She was the catalyst for sparking the talent of expressing his feelings
producers claim that they drew the script from “a
variety of impeccable sources,” and that its authenticity is “endorsed
by those who knew John Lennon best (including his childhood pals
depicted in the movie).”
It’s an interesting,
entertaining film that opens new doors in understanding Lennon and the
strange person he became, but don’t go anticipating a Beatles concert
because this film is not about the music.