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Nowhere Boy

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United Kingdom, Canada · 2009
Rated R · 1h 38m
Director Sam Taylor-Johnson
Starring Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Anne-Marie Duff, Kristin Scott Thomas, David Threlfall
Genre Drama

A dramatized account of John Lennon's teenage years and the start of his journey as a successful musician. Based on a biography written by his half-sister, young Lennon navigates a complicated relationship with his estranged mother and becomes obsessed with rock and roll, putting together the band that would become the Beatles.

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Village Voice by

Lacking the song's raw emotive power, Taylor-Wood's debut feature is a rote coming-of-age tableau that churns through stations of anger, inspiration, reconciliation, McCartney, and Harrison.


Boxoffice Magazine by Amy Nicholson

Like Todd Haynes' "I'm Not There"-which never once came out and said the name "Bob Dylan"-Nowhere Boy bites its tongue and refuses to say "The Beatles."


Time Out by Joshua Rothkopf

If only the script had been content to stick with its let's-start-a-band verve. Like many a musical biopic, Nowhere Boy wants to explain away the man (as if a song like "In My Life" weren't explanation enough).


The A.V. Club by Keith Phipps

It's a tender, but sometimes untended, portrait of the artist as a young man-and occasionally as a young asshole-that's handsome, dutiful, and finally, a little dull.


Variety by Leslie Felperin

A respectable but surprisingly conventional feature-debut effort from Brit artist-turned-helmer Sam Taylor-Wood.


Movieline by Michelle Orange

Although this is a film about the influential women in Lennon's life, it succeeds equally in its evocation of the family Lennon built among his boyhood mates.


Rolling Stone by Peter Travers

Johnson doesn't resemble, much less embody, Lennon, but he does catch his distinctive glint of mischief tinged with pain. Duff and Scott Thomas are both exceptional, revealing how John's relationship with these two clashing sisters marked his character.


The Hollywood Reporter by Ray Bennett

Strong performances by Kristin Scott Thomas as the stern Aunt Mimi, who raised the future Beatle from the age of 5, and Anne-Marie Duff as his troubled mother heighten the dramatic appeal of what otherwise is quite a dull film.

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