Friday, April 15, 2011

Rent/Buy This Weekend: Beatles Docu-Drama: Nowhere Boy

"Why couldn't God make me Elvis!?!"
"Cause he was saving you for John Lennon!"

NOWHERE BOY is a 2009 British Indie film about John Lennon's adolescence.  Mostly about the women in his life, we see John torn between his Aunt Mimi (who raised him) and his mother, Julia, (who abandon him, but reappears in his early teens).  The film chronicles these early experiences that shaped one of the most captivating and talented icons in popular culture.

With some amazing performances by Aaron Johnson (as John Lennon), Kristin Scott Thomas (as Aunt Mimi), Anne-Marie Duff (as Julia) and Thomas Brodie-Sangster (as Paul McCartney, best known as the cute kid from LOVE ACTUALLY), this film is a must watch.  However, I must warn that the film is NOT about The Beatles, but about the young man who starts arguably the greatest band in history.

The film explains John's upbringing and the influences these women have had on his life.  And then, starts the music.  We find that Aunt Mimi bought John Lennon his first guitar and allowed his first band (The Quarrymen) to practice at her home.  And then, we see the moment John Lennon meets Paul McCartney and the start of the complicated friendship of arguably 20th century's finest musical pairing: Lennon/McCartney.  And just as soon as we meet George Harrison, the film reels us back in for a quiet finish.  This film is not so much about how The Beatles got their start, but how John Lennon got his start.

The friendship between John and Paul is seen in this film and depicted fairly.  We see Paul's admiration for the older, wiser and brasher John, but we see John's insecurities with Paul's abilities and leadership skills.  The two have heartwarming moments just as they have arguments, making it likely accurate.

The film is lauded as being "A Terrific Film!  Insightful and Moving!" by Entertainment Weekly.  They also add that "Aaron Johnson as John Lennon is a Revelation."

Nominated for four BAFTA awards (the UK's Oscars, that is) and winner for British Independent Film Award 2009 for Best Supporting Actress Anne-Marie Duff, the film is soulful and filled with wit.

Seeing where "Penny Lane" and "Strawberry Fields Forever" grew inspiration is a treat.  Not to mention, for any major Beatle fan out there, there are so many hidden gems of references to watch and re-watch for.

NOWHERE BOY is (as the subtitle claims) "the untold story of John Lennon and the creation of The Beatles," but beyond all that, this film is the only docu-drama about Lennon and The Beatles worth any salt.  Beatle fan or not, this is a must-see.

You Should See NOWHERE BOY if:
-You like/love/obsess over The Beatles
-You recognize the significance of The Beatles and John Lennon
-You enjoy character pieces with some truly fine acting
-You wanna see "Penny Lane"

Check out the trailer here:

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