Generally favorable reviews - based on 32 Critics What's this?

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Generally favorable reviews- based on 51 Ratings

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  • Starring: , ,
  • Summary: Imagineā€¦ John Lennon's childhood. Liverpool 1955: a smart and troubled fifteen year-old is hungry for experience. In a family full of secrets, two incredible women clash over John: Mimi, the buttoned-up Aunt who raised him, and Julia, the prodigal mother. Yearning for a normal family, John escapes into the new and exciting world of rock n' roll where his fledgling genius finds a kindred spirit in the teenage Paul McCartney. Just as John begins his new life, tragedy strikes. But a resilient young man finds his voice - and an icon explodes into the world. (The Weinstein Company) Collapse
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 23 out of 32
  2. Negative: 1 out of 32
  1. By the end of Nowhere Boy, you'll feel you know John Lennon better than you ever did.
  2. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    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.
  3. 80
    The maternal triangle is pretty well handled too, giving a good sense of where Lennon came by all that exuberance and melancholy.
  4. 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."
  5. 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.
  6. 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).
  7. Johnson is convincing as a swaggering, jokey Lennon, but the photos of young John, Paul and George that end the movie ultimately have more punch than this bubblegummy montage.

See all 32 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 17 out of 18
  2. Negative: 0 out of 18
  1. Oct 26, 2010
    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." Expand
  2. May 28, 2011
    "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 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
  3. Aug 27, 2011
    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. Expand
  4. Oct 20, 2010
    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 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
  5. Aug 28, 2011
    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. Expand
  6. Jan 31, 2011
    From Nowhere Boy's chic Elvis backed introduction, we see a young John Lennon who is informed by his principal that "'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.
  7. Oct 11, 2010
    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. Expand

See all 18 User Reviews