A chronicle of John Lennon's first years, focused mainly in his adolescence and his relationship with his stern aunt Mimi, who raised him, and his absentee mother Julia, who re-entered his life at a crucial moment in his young life.
The story of John Lennon's childhood and teenage years from 1944 to 1960, his relationship with his aunt Mimi and his mother Julia -the two dominant women in the first part of his life-, his first meeting with Paul McCartney and George Harrison, their friendship, their love for music and the birth of The Beatles. Written by
Unsentimental but still artful biopic of the early Lennon
Sam Taylor-Wood's story of the adolescent John Lennon is an entertaining and occasionally touching film. I enjoyed it for the story of a young lad belligerently (and often fearfully) confronting the inevitable revelation of his past and constructing some sort of future. Taylor-Wood has consciously avoided any direct reference to the man that we all knew John Lennon would become, although there are implicit signposts placed in the visual narrative. Instead, his part in creating The Beatles assumed, the director concentrates on the (far from) simple facts of his coming of age, acquaintance with music and with real panache, the social climate in which this all came about.
The central narrative concerns the ying and yang relationships that John has with his aunt Mimi and rediscovered mother Julia. It is hard to imagine how these three parts would be better played than by you're-not- fooling-anyone-ice-queen Kristin Scott-Thomas and the effervescent life- force of Anne Marie Duff (respsectively). There's some fine screen acting going on here. Yet the tortured break with a prosaic, echt- English aunt and the intense, Oedipal love for a irresistible mother would be nothing without the right John - and where Aaron Johnson's been, I've no idea. His great ability is to trip off endless social anachronisms, turns of phrase that would seem un-PC, ill-advised or simply too cheeky today with a body language to suggest that he has no idea of the ramifications or combativeness of such an attitude. This is what makes the rock-n-roll, about to burst from the back of the screen (like the Third Reich in Haneke's White Ribbon) so palpable, so believable.
A good film, told, briskly and with rich nuance. 7/10
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