“Nowhere Boy” Goes Somewhere
Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades
I remember the night John Lennon died. I was sitting in a club in New York City a few blocks from where he was shot. The music stopped in the club for the news flash. I was almost kicked out when I muttered, “Guess this means there won’t be a Beatles reunion.”
No disrespect meant, I was a big fan of the Beatles.
John Lennon was considered the brainy Beatle, despite his lack of education. He wrote memorable songs, penned charming books, drew fanciful line drawings. His loss shocked us all, the guy who had admonished us to “Give Peace a Chance.”
The story of John Lennon’s youth is recounted in “Nowhere Boy,” the biopic that’s playing at the Tropic Cinema.
The film’s title, of course, is a play on the Beatles song, “Nowhere Man.”
John (played by Aaron Johnson) was restless teenager, running wild in the streets of Liverpool, England. The film tells us about those days and the two women in his life – Mimi (Kristen Scott-Thomas), the aunt who raised him from age 5, and Julia (Anne-Marie Duff), his mum who gave him up.
John is drawn to the music from America, blues and rock ’n roll. Songs like Buddy Holly’s “Peggy Sue” and Elvis’ “Shake, Rattle & Roll.” He meets up with young Paul McCartney (Thomas Brody Sangster), a kid who shares his musical tastes.
John starts a group called The Qauarrymen. McCartney joined it in ’57 and brought in 14-year-old George Harrison over Lennon’s objections. They performed at parties, school dances, cinemas, and amateur skiffle contests before morphing into The Beatles.
McCartney acknowledges that Lennon was always considered the leader: “We all looked up to John. He was older ... the quickest wit and the smartest”
McCartney’s dad said Lennon often got Paul “into a lot of trouble.” This is that story, as well as a tribute to their musical journey.
“Nowhere Boy” is the directorial debut of Sam Taylor-Wood, better known as a conceptual artist and photographer.
The film is based on the biography “Imagine This: Growing Up With My Brother John Lennon,” written by Lennon's half-sister Julia Baird. However, the film’s credits do not reference this, merely acknowledging the screenplay by Matt Greenhaigh.
Honestly, the movie’s soundtrack is worth the price of a ticket. Music by Jerry Lee Lewis, Big Mama Thornton, Lloyd Price, Eddie Bond and the Stompers, Little Richard, Frankie Vaughan, Chuck Berry, and Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. If I can’t have a Beatle reunion, I’ll settle for the music that encouraged them to become the world’s greatest rock ’n rollers.
[from Solares Hill]