User Score
7.0

Generally favorable reviews- based on 51 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 44 out of 51
  2. Negative: 1 out of 51

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  1. 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 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.
  2. 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 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.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 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... Collapse
  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 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.
  4. Oct 26, 2010
    10
    John would be sure to remind us that that you have to be careful when you venture into idol-making. "Nor is their singing school but studying monuments of it's own magnificence..." So the director is careful here, too careful. It has its moments but this is kitchen room drama not "A Day In The Life."
  5. Nov 22, 2010
    6
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. You'll be able to name that tune in one note. The struck chord that the artist as a young man hears in his sleep, in his childhood home, blissfully unaware of what the dream, the ringing note entails. John Lennon wakes up without the slightest indication that he's just had a nightmare. He thinks it was a good dream; he's a dreamer. In this reverie, John is standing outside a building, and then he's running; the boy is running away from an invisible mob of cheering fans, and that struck chord, of course, is the opening to "A Hard Day's Night". The dream plays like an ancillary scene from the 1964 Richard Lester film which captured Beatlemania at its most manic. The artist as a young man doesn't quite remember what transpired during this dream, but he knows that the purchasing of a guitar is his ticket to fame and fortune, and also, as we all learned on that fateful December day in 1980, a violent, abrupt death. Alas, the struck chord could be a tolling bell that just struck midnight, signalling the end to a charmed life at the hands of a madman. Young Lennon isn't running away from his adoring fans, he's running away from a fanatic. Sometimes charming, sometimes alarming, "Nowhere Boy", nevertheless, is the perfect antidote for Lennon fans who were faced with, not one, but two films about Mark David Chapman(J.P. Schaefer's "Chapter 27" and Andrew Piddington's "The Assassination of John Lennon"), which for some, were two films too many. Ironically enough, though, it's "Nowhere Boy" that shows Lennon being shot, albeit in code. Ultimately, the struck chord could very be the fatal gunshot blast. Based on the memoir by Julia Baird("Imagine This: Growing Up with my Brother John Lennon"), the late Beatle's half-sister, the filmmaker seems less interested in Lennon's music than with the complicated relationship he had with his mother, also named Julia(Anne Marie Duff), whom John paid tribute to on "The White Album". The film reinforces the ambiguity surrounding "Julia", in which the lyrics describe a woman, not a maternal figure, and that's how John relates to his mother, as the new woman in his life. If it wasn't for "Julia", the elegiac ballad that some may confuse for a love song, since Lennon's lyrics describe his mother in almost erotic terms("seashell eyes, windy smile...her hair of floating sky is shimmering, glimmering"). He asks her to "touch me", and in "Nowhere Boy", there's touching, but is it a good touch, when mom lies down on her son, as Screamin' Jay Hawkins' "I Put a Spell on You" plays in the background. It's a little weird because Julia tells John in an earlier scene that "rock and roll equals sex", and while the song plays, his mind reflects back on a sexual encounter he recently had with a local neighborhood girl, suggesting that the boy finds his mother equally alluring. Does this suggestion of an incestuous relationship upstage the music? Yes. But that's not necessarily an unforgivable thing, since this undefined love competes against Lennon's first band The Quarrymen, not the most influential band of the twentieth century. But does the romantic love that might have existed between mother and son play like an invasion of the legendary musician's privacy, in which Baird's first-hand testimony of the going-ons in her early English home that informs "Nowhere Boy" seem a bit on the sensationalistic side, therefore shrouding this biopic in tackiness? Yes. But it's fascinating. Still, it would've been nice if the filmmaker included one scene that showcased the dawning of Lennon's musical genius. Expand
  6. Oct 20, 2010
    7
    Nowhere Boy looks good and I enjoy that they explain about John Lennon's past when he was a teenager. Aaron Johnson did alright playing as the young John Lennon and he acts like him. The scenes are too good and it takes place in the 50's,when the The Beatles started their band at the 60's. Some people will enjoy this movie and some are not. The only problem is that John Lennon's hair hasNowhere Boy looks good and I enjoy that they explain about John Lennon's past when he was a teenager. Aaron Johnson did alright playing as the young John Lennon and he acts like him. The scenes are too good and it takes place in the 50's,when the The Beatles started their band at the 60's. Some people will enjoy this movie and some are not. The only problem is that John Lennon's hair has the Elvis Presley's hair and they acted like they were bullys. Some have a little plot point about John's past for losing his mother and why does the aunt keep him without the mother. It explains good in the way and some the fans of The Beatles will be not like it,but some will like this movie,if you gonna give it try. A perfect biopic and it does look good for me to watch and that's why they call him a Nowhere Boy,that reference from the song Nowhere Man. Expand
  7. Oct 21, 2010
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Going into Nowhere Boy not being the hugest fan of the Beatles, or frankly, having any knowledge on the history of John Lennon may have been the best thing for enjoying this movie as much as I did. It's a solid family drama, with nothing particularly new or exciting about it: Lennon is abandoned by his mother as a child and taken in by his aunt, and the journey to reconnecting with his mother results in the usual types of family conflicts and hurt feelings. What elevates the movie is the performances of Kristin Scott Thomas and Anne-Marie Duff. Thomas is brilliant in something of a thankless role, giving us the stern and strict aunt type while adding amazing depth to her and making the audience care for her. Duff is the biggest stand out as the happy-go-lucky mother who is just impossible for John to get close too. The rest of the film is standard yet solid. Johnson has some struggles as Lennon, coming off as awkward for the latter half. Beatles fans might complain about the lack of music or Beatles references, but it's a solid biopic. Expand
  8. Jan 31, 2011
    7
    From Nowhere Boy's chic Elvis backed introduction, we see a young John Lennon who is informed by his principal that "...you'll be lucky to find a job...because you're going nowhere." The defiant Lennon gives a lighthearted sinister smirk, and replies, "Is 'nowhere' full of geniuses sir? Because then I probably do belong there." Drawing from this scene, it is ironic that a film that isFrom Nowhere Boy's chic Elvis backed introduction, we see a young John Lennon who is informed by his principal that "...you'll be lucky to find a job...because you're going nowhere." The defiant Lennon gives a lighthearted sinister smirk, and replies, "Is 'nowhere' full of geniuses sir? Because then I probably do belong there." Drawing from this scene, it is ironic that a film that is focused on one of the more genuine and intelligent figures in music, is rather more emotionally based than anything else. With that said, unlike some recent biopics (i.e. Coco avant Chanel) that depicted solely the roots of a famous celebrity, Nowhere Boy approaches its material in a way that is entertaining and effective.

    Nowhere Boy depicts the life of Beatles member John Lennon prior to the success of his legendary band. Portrayed by Aaron Johnson, the film examines Lennon's early life and the influence he had by the two women in his life: Lennon's parental figure Aunt Mimi (Kristin Scott Thomas) and his irresponsible mother, Julia Lennon (Annie-Marie Duff). Aaron Johnson plays Lennon in an uncannily accurate manner; He does not force his impersonation, rather the subtlety and poise he displays gives the audience an undeniable representation of the Beatle. Thomas and Duff, who supports Johnson as Lennon's parental figures, add to an opposing spectrum that contributes to the overall balance of the film. The film in definitely touching in its performances, and shows Lennon's more emotion and casual side.

    Not only is the film well acted, it looks good as well. Intertwining vintage tunes and captivating yet subtle imagery, the audience gets a perfect picture of Britain in its pre-rock and skiffle-based stage. Overall, Nowhere Boy is far from a masterpiece. There is hardly any focus on The Beatles nor any sense of Lennon's musical genius. There is solely a single reference to Lennon's songwriting, thus the film lacks any ambition of its focused topic. While the film perfectly succeeds in projecting its emotional side, there is no focus on intellect. This flaw can probably be ignored in any other film, but a film based on John Lennon should have some share of his musical ambition. Nowhere Boy largely delivers an entertaining biopic, but it's really only half of what it should aim for.
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  9. Oct 9, 2010
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. An interesting biopic about the early life of John Lennon, and especially about the two women bringing him up. With fine production values and a great pace, the film never fails to capture you.

    Kristin Scott-Thomas is best in show and completely steals the scene away when she tells about why she "took" John Lennon from his mother, she captures every emotion. Anne-Marie Duff is also good, but sometimes you miss that she's his mother and instead think of her as just a friend to him. The star of the movie, Aaron Johnson gives a good performance, but is often overshadowed by the two leadings ladies mentioned before.
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  10. Dec 26, 2010
    8
    Aaron Johnson and Kristin Scott Thomas are great as a young John Lennon and his aunt, and the film captures the era very well. A solid biopic and certainly worth-seeing, especially for Beatles fans, but it's nothing revelatory.
  11. Mar 29, 2011
    7
    While i did enjoy the movie i was a bit confused at why his emotions seemed to be all over the place at times. one scene he's an **** and the next he's a saint. i would have liked the movie to go deeper into his relationship with paul and the beatles. But for what it was worth it was an enjoyable watch.
  12. Aug 27, 2011
    8
    An interesting and extremely well-acted biopic.Aaron Johnson is completely convincing.More a study of a tough adolescence than a music film.A thoughtful script and the fine acting make it well worth watching.
  13. May 28, 2011
    9
    "Nowhere Boy" is a fascinating depiction of a driven boy troubled by familial divides. I must begin by saying that I love history, and I love historical dramas. I am able to set the factual history aside to enjoy dramatic stories. Many history lovers are not, but I am fine with a storyteller taking a person or event from history to lay it as the foundation of the movie and then tell a"Nowhere Boy" is a fascinating depiction of a driven boy troubled by familial divides. I must begin by saying that I love history, and I love historical dramas. I am able to set the factual history aside to enjoy dramatic stories. Many history lovers are not, but I am fine with a storyteller taking a person or event from history to lay it as the foundation of the movie and then tell a story. Having said that, I am not a fan or history buff of John Lennon or The Beatles, so I truly have no outside opinion when I walked in the theatre. The only fact I truly had at the beginning was the knowledge that the main character, John, would somehow get together with a couple of chaps named Paul and George (I actually did know that Ringo wasn't there at the beginning) to form what would become one of the greatest and most loved rock groups ever. The journey, which is made entirely out of relationships, is incredible. Kristin Scott Thomas' performance (Mimi) is perfection. At the beginning, one considers that her character will be a British, stiff-upper-lipped stock matriarch, but that presumptive viewer will soon be had...as I was! It will be hard for a viewer to find fault with any of the performances. This is not a film to be passed over. Expand
  14. j30
    Sep 22, 2011
    6
    Interesting movie about John Lennon's life. Some good acting, but a poorly paced storyline holds this movie back emotionally.
  15. Aug 28, 2011
    7
    Nowhere Boy manages to leave all the recent musical biopics in the dust by doing the exact opposite of what they've been doing: Painting our God-like figure of music as a normal guy with a lot of problems. Who knows? Maybe if his mother had loved him more, he wouldn't have sung about it as much.
  16. Aug 19, 2011
    8
    I was hoping they would give a little bit more detail on things like the quarrymen and George Harrison but really you only see him once or twice and that's it. But other than that it was quite a happy and emotional film that was very entertaining and definitely much better than birth of the Beatles and in his life: john Lennon story.
  17. Feb 22, 2013
    7
    Nowhere Boy is the critically acclaimed story of John Lennon's adolescence and the formation of the Beatles. The film was a culmination of several biographies of Lennon, along with firsthand accounts from friends and family. Aaron Johnson was utterly fantastic as Lennon, giving a very strong performance. People were genuinely surprised when he was cast, being that he's not British, butNowhere Boy is the critically acclaimed story of John Lennon's adolescence and the formation of the Beatles. The film was a culmination of several biographies of Lennon, along with firsthand accounts from friends and family. Aaron Johnson was utterly fantastic as Lennon, giving a very strong performance. People were genuinely surprised when he was cast, being that he's not British, but it's not an issue. As for the film, in all honesty, until Lennon meets McCartney, the film is kind of slow. After that, it picks up a little bit, but jumps around quite a bit and gets to be rather confusing. I'm convinced that I only enjoyed this film, because it's subject is someone I greatly admired and someone I wanted to know more about. The performances were top notch and I did learn a lot about John Lennon and the Beatles, but overall this film was a little dry. Expand
  18. Sep 3, 2014
    7
    .Aaron Taylor-Johnson gives a commendable portrayal of John Lennon during his early years in Nowhere Boy. The film is an intimate look at Lennon's roots and the formation of The Beatles. We may be missing some music from The Beatles--but are instead given the music which influenced them.
Metascore
67

Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 32
  2. Negative: 1 out of 32
  1. 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.
  2. 75
    Nowhere Boy is great at depicting the birth of Lennon's love for his art.
  3. 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.