Nowhere Boy, directed by Sam Taylor-Wood, focuses on the early life of John Lennon (Aaron Johnson) and the emotional turmoil behind his musical education – he had a lot of angsty teenage drama. A young John is torn between two women: his aunt and his mother. Controlling and severe Aunt Mimi (Kristen Scott Thomas) has raised Lennon since he was a boy, and his free-spirited mother (Anne Marie Duff) hasn’t seen him since she abandoned him to his Aunt’s care.
The actors in Nowhere Boy are well cast. Aaron Johnson perfectly embodies the brash arrogance that one expects from Lennon (and he pulls off the hairstyle, too), while Thomas Brodie Sangster is instantly likeable as a white-suited, pink carnation-wearing, tea-drinking Paul McCartney.
The screenwriter Matt Greenhalgh (who also wrote Joy Division biopic Control) captures the dialogue of the time, and punctuates the script with sly references to the future of The Beatles. One of the most enjoyable aspects of the film is the typically rock ‘n’ roll atmosphere; the swinging soundtrack, the carefully coiffed hair and slick cityscapes. However, the real charm of Nowhere Boy is its heart, and how much it cares for the characters (and not just because one goes on to be a future member of the Fab Four).
The special features on the DVD are extensive, and include a featurette on the making of the film, deleted scenes, theatrical trailer and an extended interview with Sam Taylor-Wood. For Beatles fans, Lennon’s Liverpool walks the audience through the effect of Lennon’s surroundings on his music and the significant landmarks featured in the film, while another featurette includes interviews with the elderly original members of Lennon’s first band, The Quarrymen. From the references to The Beatles, to the bromance, to the stylish Buddy Holly glasses – Nowhere Boy is worth the rental, if not the cost of owning it on DVD.