“Nowhere Boy” Shared an Imaginer’s Beginning

Genres: Art/Foreign, Drama, Musical/Performing Arts and Biopic
Running Time: 1 hr. 35 min.
Release Date: October 8th, 2010 (limited)
MPAA Rating: R for language and a scene of sexuality.


Director: Sam Taylor-Wood

JJ Rating: B+

See it again: Meh-be (more on the no side, hence the meh)
Own it: Nope.
Recommend it to: Those that enjoy Beatle things and great acting by a select few.


What was John Lennon’s (Aaron Johnson) life like before he became a Beatle? Nowhere Boy.

It’s always interesting to see how a famous person becomes an important part of pop culture have someone they found inspirational. Because it escapes me, at times, that famous people have those they admire. In my mind, they all know one another, even though I know that’s not true, that’s my default setting. They have their own inspirations; no one goes about their job without some form off inspiration. John Lennon became famous after Elvis Presley. That is a “duh” thing, but I didn’t really connect that to mean Lennon would be tripped up over how great Elvis was all the way across the pond. Also even funnier is that someone from Lubbock, Texas would influence a Beatle all the way over there, Buddy Holly.

It’s amazing how self-entitled Lennon was when he was younger. As if he deserved so much for being so little and self involved. This created him as a Beatle and then Lennon we know, but it was such a contrast. He started angry and pissy and ended up peaceful and anti-war. It’s a transformation that could be liken to a caterpillar into a butterfly. What he saw in Yoko, well that’s another story.

Aaron Johnson did such a tremendous job of acting as if he was Lennon. He deserves an Oscar nod and maybe even a win. I am reminded of when I saw Michael Clayton and Tilda Swinton’s final speech that sent me into Oscar praise for her. I have seen many good movies this year (though not as much as last year) and no one person’s acting has struck me as fantastic enough to get a nod, but his does. It has that sharp quality and he sounded just like Lennon. It’s as if he stole his voice and mannerisms. He may not look like him, but that’s not why you pick someone to play a famous person. They have to embody them. I forgot he was even in Kick-Ass, even though this was filmed before.

Kristin Scott Thomas played Mimi Smith who is Lennon’s guardian most of his life (even though his mother lived around the corner). She played a character that didn’t show her emotions like Lennon did, out in the open. She was more reserved. It was an internal thing going on that Scott Thomas had to display differently and she did an emotionally touching job. Johnson and her held up the entire film as well as stole every scene they were in. Not to take from Anne-Marie Duff (who played Lennon’s mom), but she didn’t shine as much as these two. She did a good job, though. I didn’t know if I should feel sorry for her, or be annoyed by her self-pity.

I had a problem with Lennon’s relationship with Mimi. How could he not realize what she had done for him? For someone that was so smart later on, he was surely socially stupid as a teen. I know that his situation was difficult and it was not easy for him, but he had so much more than others and the fact he couldn’t see it bugged me throughout the entire film. So I couldn’t feel sorry for him as much as someone else might. He annoyed me. I’m on an anti-self entitlement kick that’s been bugging me with TV and movie characters. It’s becoming obnoxious, but Lennon is real (or as real as this real can get) so it’s only slightly different.

I enjoyed the film as a whole because everyone created an enjoyable story that entertained and shared. It displayed an Imaginer’s life and explained why he became who he was, but it was sad to realize that all we have left of Lennon is really nothing. Usually you could say someone’s family continues his memory, but I don’t see that.

Nowhere Boy is worth seeing for those that enjoy Lennon and things and for those that are movie buffs. I really see Johnson getting a nod of some sort. He stood out as a powerhouse in this film. They couldn’t have asked for a better actor to play Lennon during his younger years. Nowhere Boy might just find a path to somewhere near a golden statue; I really believe Johnson showed he’s more than a whiney costume wannabe.

I write like: Stephen King

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