(Aaron Johnson, Kristin Scott Thomas, et al / DVD / R / 2011 / Sony Pictures)
Overview: On 1970's "Mother," John Lennon sang, "You had me, but I never had you." Fine artist-turned-filmmaker Sam Taylor-Wood delves into the story behind those words, starting with a 15-year-old Lennon (Kick-Ass's Aaron Johnson, a star in the making), who lives in Liverpool with his impish uncle George (David Threlfall) and imperious aunt Mimi (Kristin Scott Thomas, all pin curls and British reserve).
DVD Verdict: Aaron Johnson is wonderful in playing the impudent, mischievous, explosive character of a tempermental young Lennon but I believe that the two women are brilliant so they tend to slightly overshadow his performance. The two sisters are a complete contrast, Thomas is superb as the stiff, unbending but deeply caring aunt, whereas Duff is an eccentric, vulnerable type who goes through phases of isolation and outbursts of exuberance.
John feels torn in his love and loyalty between the two women who compete for his affection. He feels lost, confused and betrayed, as he has been deprived of his father and for years of the affection of his mother. He suffers as he must decide where his loyalties lie, his aunt suggesting she deserves more for her devotion and years of dedication. His behaviour becomes more and more delinquent, his consolation being the group he has started. At seventeen he meets Paul McCartney and soon they become close friends, writing and performing their own music.
Sam Taylor Wood gives a great portrayal of the somewhat oppressive atmosphere in post war England, with the omnipresent scarcity of money and availability of products, of the need to painstakingly save penny for penny to buy even the cheapest of guitars. What is not particularly memorable to me is the music, which I expected to play a more predominant role, though I was left with the impression that it was pleasant enough.
The film ends when John goes to Germany to give some performances there, making the rest history. I was left with a bittersweet feeling at the end of the film, knowing that what followed was legendary fame and a tragically early death. [MZ] This is a Widescreen Presentation (2.35:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs and comes with the Special Features of:
The Making of Nowhere Boy
Nowhere Boy: The Untold Story of John Lennon and the Creation of The Beatles