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Nowhere Boy (2009)

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 98 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

Long before John Lennon conquered the world with The Beatles, made a tit of himself in a bed with Yoko Ono and was murdered by a nutjob in the US, he was just a boy from Liverpool with a pretty complicated homelife. Sam Taylor Wood and Matt Greenhalgh’s(who previously worked on Joy Division movie ‘Control’) biopic unravels the childhood of the famous musician and charts the origins of The Beatles with admirable warmth and powerful candour.

After his parents couldn’t decide who got to keep him, John Winston Lennon lived with his icy Aunt Mimi (Scott Thomas) in Liverpool. His slightly creepy but full-of-life mother, (Duff) comes back into his life and she introduces him to the new phenomena of Rock ‘n’ Roll. He starts his own band, plays truant and meets his rather horrendous looking bandmates, including Paul (Sangster) and George (Bell), but also finds himself wanting to know more about his complex family situation.

Nowhere Boy provides just the right mix of feel-good and hard-hitting emotional drama. The usual musical montages chart his early career and humour is interspersed throughout but it also deals with heavier family issues and the tragedies that shaped John’s outlook on life as he matured. There is a powerful emotional undercurrent that portrays the young John Lennon as a confused multi-faceted lad with a lot of problems without ever straying into melodrama. The screenplay doesn’t take sides, instead we see the reasons why each party, rightly or wrongly, did what they did, and John Lennon is certainly not a saint.

It’s more than likely that the understated Nowhere Boy will be suffocated by the glut of festive crackers but hopefully 2010 will see a US release and some recognition for this impressive Beatles biopic.

It's Got: Serious family issues, drama and humour, a very ugly young cast.

It Needs: To explain some of the weird incestual subtext


Emotional and heartwarming in equal mesasures, Nowhere Boy is a worthy addition to the slew of Beatles biopics and documentaries.