Metascore
67

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 32
  2. Negative: 1 out of 32
Watch On
  1. By the end of Nowhere Boy, you'll feel you know John Lennon better than you ever did.
  2. It's a measure of how good a film Nowhere Boy is that it would be compelling even if it were the story of the formative years of a boy named Joe Brown.
  3. 88
    It's strange enough to be raised by your aunt. For young John Lennon, things get stranger still when he finds himself dating his mother.
  4. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    88
    It paints a complex picture of strained familial relations and a poignant look at the wounds inflicted on a sensitive soul by an unreliable parent.
  5. 88
    We learn that the emotional roller coaster of his formative years probably contributed to the complexity of his lyrics.
  6. Nowhere Boy is too astutely written and directed to go to predictably melodramatic extremes.
  7. 80
    The maternal triangle is pretty well handled too, giving a good sense of where Lennon came by all that exuberance and melancholy.
  8. There are so many ways in which Nowhere Boy, an emotionally raw and yet raucous, rockin' riff on John Lennon's turbulent teenage years, is such an entertaining piece of nostalgia.
  9. 80
    Scott Thomas' delicate, ferocious performance captures a woman quietly at war with herself, who begins to realize that her vision of respectability may not fit the remarkable young man in her care.
  10. Reviewed by: Roger Moore
    Oct 27, 2010
    75
    We get little sense of his interior life, what was going on in his head as school, girlfriends and music were competing for his attention and music was winning out. His drive is suggested, but never really felt in the performance.
  11. 75
    Nowhere Boy is great at depicting the birth of Lennon's love for his art.
  12. It's effective but schematic storytelling.
  13. Taylor-Wood stresses the universals rather than the specifics of John's youth. So don't go expecting a Fab Four origin story. The word Beatles is never uttered. But do go.
  14. 75
    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.
  15. To watch Nowhere Boy is to appreciate anew both the anger that drove Lennon and the strength of character it took for him to overcome it.
  16. 75
    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.
  17. Reviewed by: Dana Stevens
    70
    The baby-faced Thomas Sangster nearly steals the show in the much smaller role of Paul McCartney.
  18. The script, adapted by Matt Greenhalgh from a memoir by Lennon's half-sister, Julia Baird, is flagrantly Oedipal; almost every scene between John and his mother is sexually charged. The curse is taken off most of these encounters by Anne-Marie Duff's eloquent work in the mother's role.
  19. 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."
  20. 67
    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.
  21. 67
    It's often flat and dull, and it can be heavy-handed with the little acorn-that-will-yield-the-famous-oak bits that so often dot biographical films about the youthful lives of famous figures.
  22. Nowhere Boy reveals the magnitude of the good women behind the grand icon.
  23. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    63
    As sympathetic and well-turned as it is, Nowhere Boy only gives us more mythology.
User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 54 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 19
  2. Negative: 0 out of 19
  1. Nov 8, 2010
    9
    Not being a John Lennon fanatic but more of a casual fan of his, it was actor Aaron Johnson that brought me into Nowhere Boy, and I was rightNot being a John Lennon fanatic but more of a casual fan of his, it was actor Aaron Johnson that brought me into Nowhere Boy, and I was right to be brought in - he hits this completely out of the ballpark. Lennon's upper teenage years are the focus, and we see the kind of home life Lennon had, and what shaped the man he would become as one of the biggest musical influences of all time. Johnson, a PNR Rising Star this year, is amazing - this kid has so much talent oozing out of him it won't be long before Oscar comes calling. Kristin Scott-Thomas shines as Mimi, John's somewhat icy aunt, with whom he lives, and Anne-Marie Duff is amazing as Julia, John's mum, who he finds out lives just down the road from him. Even for a casual Lennon fan, this is a great film to see just for those three performances. And just to be snarky, if ever there was a film that deserved the MPAA's ridiculous "smoking " advisory, this is it - Johnson is rarely if ever without a cigarette in the last third of the film, nor are many of the rest of the cast...Nowhere Boy shines all the way around, and I think John would be very pleased with the result - and Yoko has said that SHE is... Full Review »
  2. Oct 11, 2010
    5
    I was under the misimpression that this would be a story about the formation of the Beatles from John Lennon's perspective. Instead, we get aI was under the misimpression that this would be a story about the formation of the Beatles from John Lennon's perspective. Instead, we get a poorly paced examination of Lennon and the two women in his life. I was, frankly, a little bored. The lead actor is solid enough to keep me interested, and his mother is terrific, but as a movie - I'd give it a pass. Full Review »
  3. Oct 29, 2010
    8
    By no means a masterpiece, but an enjoyable film about the tragedies that affected Lennon before becoming one of the greatest musicians hisBy no means a masterpiece, but an enjoyable film about the tragedies that affected Lennon before becoming one of the greatest musicians his world has ever seen,

    One problem i found was a bit of an abrupt ending and it could of easily been extended but it did well enough in the time it was.
    Full Review »