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.
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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
If I Knew You Were Comin' I'd've Baked a Cake
Performed by Gracie Fields
Written by Al Hoffman, Bob Merrill, Clem Watts
Published by EMI Music Publishing Limited/Al Hoffman Songs, Inc./Golden Bell Songs
Licensed courtesy of Decca Music Group Ltd
Under license from Universal Music Operations Ltd See more »
There is a lot of controversy surrounding Nowhere Boy, the biopic of John Lennon's early years. Lennon's family were critical of the project and on set director Sam Taylor-Wood earn herself a toyboy, star Aaron Johnson. But Nowhere Boy is very well film and a excellent directional debut for Taylor-Wood.
In 1950s Liverpool John Lennon (Johnson) lives with his aunt Mimi (Kristin Scott Thomas) whom uncle and father-figure, George (David Threlfall) dies of a heart attack. This tragic event spurs John on to find his mother, Julia (Anne-Marie Duff), who happened to live close by. Julia has her own family, with two daughter, but she soon teaches John about rock'n'roll and how to play the banjo. Soon John starts to form his own skittle band: but Mimi and Julia soon clash and John's domestic situation becomes more chaotic.
Nowhere Boy was written by Matt Greenhalgh, who also wrote Control, he must have a liking for musical bio-pics. He was able to write a taut script looking at two different parental approaches and how they have positive and negative effects, as well the forming of a band. This is combined by Taylor-Wood's effective directing, making a fast pace with a strong visual style, form her sideways tracking shots of John as he is walking and the montage scene where John is practicing on the banjo in real time with everything around him is sped-up. There is a real period feel in the sets and the costumes, making it feel more real, even more impressive considering the low budget and there is a very good soundtrack of classic 50s rock.
The best feature of the film is the three leading actors of Johnson, Scott Thomas and Duff. All three are very talented actors. Duff is particularly impressive as the fun loving biological mother of John who obviously suffering from bipolar disorder. She is great for John's musical development but terrible for when John really needs her. Mimi is a more restraint character, a typical old-fashioned personality of stiff-upper lip and don't show emotion. She is a sterner character who does is a disciplinant and does not know how to react to a rebellious teenager. Johnson himself is a very promising actor, also proving himself in Kick-Ass and he has a great future ahead of him. He had to show a young man who is talented, has a number of desires but also got a lot of anger inside of him directed to both his mother and aunt.
For Beatles fans there are few references to Strawberry Fields and the Cavern Club and I am sure there are more that I missed.
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