Sunday, October 17, 2010


Still from Nowhere Boy
British Visual Artist-turned-Director Sam Taylor-Wood's Nowhere Boy would have made John Lennon proud. The film explores Lennon's rebellious teen years - sexually curious and obsessed with Elvis - prior to becoming the Icon we know him as today, and many will be surprised to learn what an intriguing life he lived prior to finding fame even.

The film is carried by an impeccable cast and although Taylor-Wood took a chance in casting her now-fiancé Aaron Johnson in the prized leading role of John Lennon, the risk paid off as he delivers a mesmerizing performance in this Heartthrob-making role. Johnson captures perfectly the headstrong and self-assured spirit of a young man who by chance develops a love for Music in reconnecting with his estranged and free-spirited Birthmother, Julia (Anne-Marie Duff).  John we see, is raised by his stern Aunt Mimi (Kristin Scott Thomas) and our understanding is that her younger sister Julia abandoned him as a young child.

With no real aspirations to excel in his studies, John unleashes his frustrations through Music, forming a band with some classmates, creating some structure in his life amidst the pushing and pulling in two directions by Mimi and Julia.   Mimi hopes to keep John far away from a desperate Julia with a warning that she only will hurt him. Also in reconnecting with Julia, John's sudden presence in her home causes a divide between her and her husband Bobby (David Morrissey)

Unsure of his place in this world and where his home is, John builds a friendship and gets musical guidance through a grounded young Paul McCartney (Thomas Sangster). Although the History books have already written of John's fate, we ponder here how this young man is able to find his own identity amidst all the domestic turmoil in his life.

In addition to Johnson simply being fantastic, Thomas as always is fantastic in her supporting role.  When forced to confront her sister about her irresponsibility, we see nothing but pure ferocity unleashed from Mimi in a crucial scene which explains the tightly-wound character she has become.  We are never sure until the end whether her role is strictly that of a Guardian or a Mother to John.  On that same note, Duff is a scene stealer with her carefree effervescence and she makes it is all too easy for us to travel on her road to redemption with her son, as she is hopelessly committed to the task of correcting her own mistakes.  And yes, that adorable little boy from 2003's Love Actually (Sangster) truly has come into his own as an Actor, putting forth some superb work as young doe-eyed Paul McCartney.

The Weinstein Co./Maple Pictures' Nowhere Boy is not a Biography, it is a journey of self-discovery with a young man in his search for answers;  an extraordinary story that happens only to be about someone famous.  The film is now in limited release.  Grade: A

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