John Lennon as the Nowhere Boy: A Movie about his Teenage Years
I wonder what John Lennon's sons thought. What did all these people in John's life think about the new movie, Nowhere Boy, a drama about John's angst with love from 1955-59. Paul and Yoko both thought it the movie was "spot on", However, McCartney would was a consultant for it, said that he never recalled John ever punching him in the face.
Released in the UK a year ago, it now crosses the pond in limited showings, at specialty theatres of foreign imports or indies. Beatle's fans will love the movie because it is about John, the leader of the Beatles. Others may not find it that engaging. As a drama, John's story would never be given the light of day had it not been for his celeb status. What happened to John, how he felt, his emotional status, has been done to ad nauseum. It is the stuff of good drama. Angst.
The movie follows his life pretty much on cue. If you know his life events, it is a dramatic, revival of them in good fashion. There is the strict, no-nonsense, Aunt Mimi, that raised him since age 5. There is Julia, his mom and Mimi's sister, the happy go lucky, funny, musical, but needing love real bad, woman. She left John at age 5, found another guy, had a daughter (John's sister, Victoria), left that relationship, for another etc. John only has vague memories of his dad from age 5, a merchant marine, never home much. The movie really focuses on John's mental state at age 15-19, how he loved being with his mom upon being reunited, but the rift between Mimi and Julia, turns it into pain. He loves both of them. The climax builds until the three of them explode and John demands to know where is dad is. Mimi provides the vendetta stabbing Julia over and over like in a Hitchcock movie as John is speechless. The vendetta of facts, that John never knew, tears him up until he breaks the bond with his mom. But, as The Beatles sang, Love is All You Need, the three came to terms with the past.
Of course, along the way...we see John fall in love...with Elvis, with rock and roll, Buddy Holly. His first guitar. How John learned from a banjo his mom gave him. Then the apex-the famous meeting of Paul McCartney and subsequent audition in front on John, his reaction. The Quarrymen performance. Until John's band had success (which was very limited), Julia was the biggest fan. We also see how George Harrison was introduced by Paul to John on a bus and that is where George auditioned playing riffs that smoked John. We also get a teasing glance of the future just before The Beatles honed their skills in Hamburg, Germany in 1960. The girls, not screaming yet, but truly mesmerized by the presence of the main three: John, Paul and George, as the rocked the house.
But, all of the above is not what the movie is about. It is not about how the Beatles were in the pre-1963 Beatlemania days, their gigs, what they went through, their many, many rejections, periods when the John truly was lost about his future, how a jealous guy he was when it came to love and relationships (that haunted him his whole life), the advent of Ringo, or even the Beatles in Hamburg (the best film for this is Birth of the Beatles, a film in the late 70s, with unknown actors).
It is just about the torture he went through never feeling love from his mom or aunt and how the death of his mom propelled him into music. John always knew music had saved his soul. He was fast becoming a Nowhere Man.
I give it a B rating. Acting is solid. The guy playing John resembles him at times, not so with Paul or George. I think the real John was much more lost and angry than portrayed in the movie.
The movie seems to be accurate, however, Paul, it has been said, has had a problem with some factual things depicted in the film.
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