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Nowhere Boy


Stars: Aaron Johnson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Anne-Marie Duff, David Morrissey, Josh Bolt, Thomas Sangster, Ophelia Lovibond, Sam Bell

Director: Sam Taylor Wood

The early life of John Lennon makes for an interesting, if not out-of-the-ordinary story of youthful rebellion. What makes Lennon's life worth recalling is that he was taken from his mentally fragile, nymphomaniac mother (Duff) at five and raised by a rather more prim sister (Scott Thomas) and her fun-to-be-with husband (David Threlfall), who unfortunately dies when John is 15.

His supensions from school, his rediscovery of his mother and the beginnings of his musical career combine to provide the engine that drives the story, although his relationship with his mother doesn't seem consistent. Why does he worship, then suddenly hate her?

Never mind, Johnson has Lennon pretty much down pat, from the cockiness, through the casual success with girls, to the laconic sense of humour, even if he's called to project more angst than fun most of the time. His Liverpudlian accent is pretty variable, although this could apply to much of the cast, with the exception of Bolt as his friend Pete, although Bolt is a native Scouser.

Settings accurately reflect the times (even if the clip of Elvis Presley is surely far later than 1956) and Beatles fans will welcome this close-up look at the formative years of the group's driving force.

David Quinlan

USA 2009. UK Distributor: Icon . Colour by deluxe.
97 minutes. Not widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 2.

Review date: 20 Dec 2009