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Nowhere Boy (Blu-ray Review)

18 Jan, 2011 By: Billy Gil

Street 1/25/11
Sony Pictures
Box Office $1.5 million
$28.95 DVD, $30.95 Blu-ray
Rated ‘R’ for language and a scene of sexuality.
Stars Aaron Johnson, Anne-Marie Duff, Kristin Scott Thomas, Thomas Brodie Sangster.

This biopic neatly focuses on the early life of John Lennon, before and up to the time he formed The Beatles.

Lennon, expertly played by Kick-Ass’s Aaron Johnson (a surefire rising star), is seen living with his Aunt Mimi (a dependably superb Kristen Scott Thomas) and Uncle George, who’ve raised him since he was 5. When Uncle George dies, Lennon begins to spin out a bit and seeks his birth mother, Julia, played with equal-parts seduction and self-destruction by Anne-Marie Duff. Julia welcomes Lennon back into her life and teaches him about sex and the guitar, helping spark his rebellious transformation into a street-tough skiffle band leader.

Nowhere Boy works by mostly sticking to the facts but allowing plenty of feeling to seep in. The complex relationship between Lennon, Julia and Mimi develops smoothly, courtesy of first-time feature director (and Johnson’s fiancée) Sam Taylor-Wood. The sad truths that lie underneath their relationship are matched by more tragedy for Lennon, but the story never feels schmaltzy or pandering.

Music geeks will find plenty to love getting to watch Lennon first meet and play with Paul McCartney and George Harrison, while fans of British film and biopics needn’t even care for John Lennon or The Beatles to enjoy Nowhere Boy.

The DVD has two decent making-of featurettes. While biographical information would’ve been a nice supplement, it’s pretty well-worn territory that can be found elsewhere.

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