Movie Details

Nowhere Boy

Biopic of a spirited teenager named John Lennon (Aaron Johnson) who was curious, sharp and funny, growing up in the shattered city of Merseyside, Liverpool and later became the leader of the iconic band The Beatles. We learn about the two extraordinary women who tussle for Lennon`s love - Mimi Smith (Kristin Scott Thomas), the formidable aunt who raised him since the age of 5 and Julia Lennon (Anne-Marie Duff), the spirited mother who gave him up to Mimi`s care. Yearning for a normal family, John finds his escape into art and where the new music are flooding in from the United States. His fledgling genius later finds a kindred spirit in the young Paul McCartney (Thomas Sangster). But just as John Lennon starts a new life, the truth about his history leads to a catastrophe that he would never escape from.

Language: English
Subtitle: NA
Classification: NC16
Release Date: 23 Sep 2010
Genre: Drama / Biography
Running Time: 1 Hour 38 Minutes
Distributor: CATHAY-KERIS FILMS
Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Kristin Scott Thomas, Anne-Marie Duff
Director: Sam Taylor-Wood
Format: NA

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Review
Writer: Ezekiel Lee Zhiang Yang

Writer Ratings:
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Effects: NA
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Watch this if you liked: “Backbeat”, “The Runaways”, “Lennon Naked”

Can Kick-Ass do a convincing John Lennon? British actor Aaron Johnson's got big blue eyes while the famed Beatle had soulful brown ones. He's got superhero muscles and a considerable build while everyone knows the Scouse musician was anything but. Can be buy "Nowhere Boy"?

Yes. Thanks to Johnson's impressive emotional range, some people see "Nowhere Boy" as a great prequel to "Backbeat" (1994) starring Ian Hart, though it seems that general opinion skew towards Hart being the best screen Lennon ever. In this 2009 biopic by first-time director Sam Taylor-Wood (you can read that she has since married her lead star Johnson, a full 23 years her junior!) there is a restrained but admirable and classy finish to it, most likely due to her own personal interest in the subject matter.

As the synopsis reads, this really is about Lennon's adolescence but it centres on his relationship with two great maternal figures in his life, his aunt Mimi (a towering and delightful Kristin Scott Thomas, "Four Weddings And A Funeral" 1994) and his mother Julia Lennon (an appropriately playful Anne-Marie Duff, TV's "Shameless"). If you're watching the movie, this would be what you're going to watch it for, and not for how The Quarrymen was formed and how Lennon learned the guitar, although these passing elements do fit in quite nicely without applying too much biographical rigidity to it. You can see how Lennon first met Paul McCartney but this isn't really the point of the film. It's a very British coming-of-age drama that just happens to be about one of the greatest singer and songwriters in world history. Even if the character wasn't Lennon (or if you have absolutely no idea who John Lennon was) this is still a solid piece of acting with some great moments.

One particular triumph in this movie as a biopic is that it does show why people liked being around John Lennon despite him being such an irreverent and rebellious teenager. It's not easy to find the middle point between demonising and lionising a real person in a movie but "Nowhere Boy" nails it home with aplomb.

Watch "Nowhere Boy" if you're a Beatles fan or if you're looking for some lighter British fare (i.e. nothing that will drain you like "Atonement" or "The English Patient".)

Cinema Online, 27 September 2010
   
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Classification
Effective 15 July 2011
G - Suitable for all ages
PG - Suitable for all ages, but parents should provide guidance to their young
PG13 - Suitable for persons aged 13 and above, but parental guidance is advised for children below 13
NC16 - Suitable for persons aged 16 years and above
M18 - Suitable for persons aged 18 years and above
R21 - Restricted to persons aged 21 and above only
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