Nowhere Boy
Dammit, guitar. Make sweet music so I can impress all the fit birds.

Theatrical Release Date: 10/15/2010
Director: Sam Taylor-Wood
Cast: Aaron Johnson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Anne-Marie Duff, David Threlfall, Thomas Brodie Sangster
Rated: R for language and a scene of sexuality.
Runtime: 1 hour, 38 minutes

Golden Mug2010 Golden Mug

Best Supporting Actress (Kristin Scott Thomas)


Maybe you shouldn’t hang them up with nails.

There’s been a little bit of hype surrounding the film, “Nowhere Boy”. It tells the story of John Lennon’s journey from angst ridden teen to the founding member of some band named The Beatles (apparently, they’re famous or something). Seeing as the band sold a few albums, there’s a large fan base with potential interest in the material.

However, while the film does everything adequately – at its core, this is just another dysfunctional family tale. Without the central figure being John Lennon (played by Aaron Johnson), this would just be another film you catch on the Lifetime network some weekday afternoon.

Now granted, there are good acting performances all around. Johnson does a nice job of stepping into the role both musically and acting wise. The choice of Thomas Brodie Sangster for a young Paul McCartney was a bit odd physically but worked nicely otherwise (he’s grown up a bit since “Love, Actually”). And although Lennon and McCartney are clearly the most recognizable names in the film, the brightest elements in the film are the two central female roles.

As Lennon’s mother, Anne-Marie Duff delivers a wonderfully dynamic role (and is of no relation to Hilary); capturing the free spirit who turned Lennon onto rock music and the tormented woman who gave him up all in one. Not to be outdone, Kristin Scott Thomas plays the Aunt who actually raised Lennon and her impressive range is also on display; portraying a woman almost at the complete other end of the spectrum when speaking about the sisters’ approach to living life – with one dutifully holding down a home and the other always on the lookout for a good time.

These two actresses elevate the project as much as possible, given the script and direction; which is where this film falls a bit flat. Doing a movie about John Lennon is a good idea … but maybe it would have been better to include some of the more interesting elements of his life because the latter teenage years are far too cliché to excite all but the truly hardcore Beatles fan.

Overall, it’s not a bad film; it’s also not very original or inspiring. A 3 out of 5, “Nowhere Boy” will likely find itself fading into cinematic obscurity – which is almost the last thing I would have thought possible given the popularity and recognizability of the central character, but there you have it.

3 out of 5