When I saw the preview for "Nowhere Boy" (2009), I was intrigued not only by its premise, but also because it puts a different spin on Lennon's teenage years compared to all of the movies and documentaries done in the past. Instead of being a documentary, "Nowhere Boy" is more of a fictional interpretation of John Lennon's early years, based on factual events and inspired by the actual people. "Nowhere Boy" stars Aaron Johnson as John, Kristin Scott Thomas as John's aunt Mimi, Anne-Marie Duff as his mother Julia and Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Paul McCartney (you might recognize him from one of my favorite movies; he played Sam in "Love Actually."
For a little background on John Lennon, one would start with his family situation. Lennon was raised in Liverpool by his aunt and uncle, Mimi and George Smith, after his father left town and his mother gave up guardianship (though she continued to visit him through the years). One might say Lennon was slightly rebellious, but he also had a heart of gold, a lot of love to give and talent that couldn't be denied. His rebellion didn't reveal itself as much as it did following the death of his mother, who was hit by a car in 1958 – when Lennon was 17 years old. When Lennon was in high school, he and his friends started the group "The Quarrymen," which is when Lennon met Paul McCartney and eventually George Harrison (Ringo wasn't part of the band until later). Soon after, the Beatles were born – and the rest is history.
"Nowhere Boy" is given a short summary at IMDB.com:
"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."
Don't be fooled by the short synopsis though – "Nowhere Boy" is filled with complexities, conflict, drama and humor – things you won't always see in similar documentaries and movies about Lennon. As a Beatles fan I really enjoyed the movie, and appreciate the new perspective and interpretation of John Lennon's life. I can't really say if a non-Beatles fan would get the same enjoyment out of the movie (if you're not a Beatles fan but have seen the movie, let me know!), but it was clearly a good pick for me. It wasn't the best movie I've ever seen, but it was entertaining and kept my attention the entire time.
Final rating of "Nowhere Boy":