Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Netflix Instant Queue Movie Review: "Nowhere Boy" (2009)

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Movie"Nowhere Boy"
Director: Sam Taylor-Johnson
Year: 2009
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 38 minutes

John Lennon (Aaron Taylor-Johnson) has been raised by his aunt Mimi (Kristin Scott Thomas) and his uncle George (David Threlfall) from a very young age. After the death of his uncle George, John starts rebuild his relationship with his estranged but free spirited mother Julia (Anne-Marie Duff). She introduces John to Rock 'n' Roll and inspires him to become a musician at the expense of his education, much to the chagrin of his more straight-laced Aunt Mimi. 

BigJ and I are both big fans of The Beatles' music, but we never really delved into the early personal life of John Lennon or any of the other band members for that matter. "Nowhere Boy" features a dramatized look into the early life of John Lennon, a story which we found quite compelling. We're sure there are liberties taken as is the case in all biopics, but we think this particular film captures the overall rebellious spirit of Lennon and also shows that John was always destined for tragedy. Despite a father who left at a young age and a mother who was not always around, though not always absent by choice, John was raised by his aunt and uncle who loved him quite a lot. Kristin Scott Thomas does a great job as Aunt Mimi, a very proper English woman who seems harsh on the outside, but deep down really loves her nephew, who she raised like her own son. John butts heads with his aunt Mimi quite often as any teenager does with their parental figure. This becomes more apparent after the death of his Uncle George, played by David Threlfall, who though only in the film a short time, seemed to have a great relationship with John. John's life takes a dramatic turn as he seemed heavily affected by his Uncle's passing. John gets closer to his mother Julia, played by Anne-Marie Duff, who is more free spirited than her sister Mimi. She is the main driving force behind John's music career and even gave him the money for his first guitar. He has some turmoil with his mother as well, questioning why he was raised by his Aunt and Uncle instead of his mother, which he eventually comes to terms with, but even that story doesn't have a happy ending. John himself, played quite well and convincingly by "Kick-Ass" star Aaron Taylor-Johnson, is one of music's more compelling characters and this movie gives audiences some great insight into his younger years, those that shaped him into the musical icon we all know today. Taylor-Johnson certainly has the look down, that's for sure, and instead of directly or blatantly ripping off of who John Lennon was, he found a way to elevate him to make him his own as a while new character, morphing his mannerisms ever so slightly. John is often displayed as an arrogant prima-donna who seemed a little jealous of Paul McCartney's talent when they first met, especially considering Paul, played Thomas Brodie-Sangster, was younger and didn't really look rock and roll. Obviously, John and Paul become friends and wrote music together and Paul introduces John to George Harrison, played by Sam Bell, and he joins their band, too. The name The Beatles is never mentioned in the film as it only covers up to The Quarrymen, which means no Ringo, sorry Ringo fans. The tragedy John Lennon saw in his life is certainly on display here, and though Taylor-Johnson's Lennon often reacts poorly to his situations, you never really feel anything other than sorry for him, even when he's acting like a prick. Overall, this was a really good drama and biopic with some interesting information about one of music's most legendary names.

My Rating: 7/10
BigJ's Rating: 7/10
IMDB's Rating: 7.2/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 79%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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