Wednesday, October 27, 2010

JOHN LENNON: NOWHERE BOY



"Imagine John Lennon's childhood." Before John Lennon became a colourful doodle for World Peace, he was quite the little scallywag. Set in Liverpool in the '50s, Nowhere Boy looks at Lennon's childhood, before he became a Ben & Jerry's flavour and the soul property of Yoko Ono.

Raised by his aunt Mimi (Kristin Scott-Thomas), teenage Lennon (Aaron Johnson) discovers that his estranged aunt Julia (Anne-Marie Duff) is actually his biological mother. Naturally, he gravitates towards her and dreams of a reunited, perfectly normal childhood. But his new mum doesn't make things easy.

Caught between two women that love him, Lennon doesn't know where to fit in. Until he discovers Elvis Presley, the guitar and skiffle music. Then his mission is clear: "I'm gonna start a rock 'n roll group..."

Overseen by first time director Sam Taylor-Wood (who's 43 and engaged to 20-year-old lead actor Aaron Johnson), Nowhere Boy goes out of its way to not even mention the Beatles - besides Lennon's friendship with a young Paul McCartney (Thomas Brodie Sangster) and a mysterious "George" character. Instead, the film follows the progress of Lennon's first band The Quarrymen and the brooding family melodrama that shaped him.

Overall, Nowhere Boy's a refreshingly unglamorous and down-to-earth glimpse at pre-Peace Guru John Lennon, enhanced by a great cast of small-timers. Things do get a bit "feel good" and quaint at times, but overall, it's a solid biopic that's well worth a watch.

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