Nowhere Boy (UK-Canada, 2009)

Divided at birth

Biopics are a difficult genre as packing a life into a brief narrative is ludicrously difficult. Focusing on a couple of years, however, is a good compromise but when those years include the formation of The Beatles, then the baggage accrued is immense. Nowhere Boy deftly finesses most of the problems; knowingly in the moment when the name of the band is almost, but not, mentioned. Sure there’s the first meeting of Lennon and McCartney but the film’s really about the relationship between John, his mother and the aunt that raised him. So it’s less about The Beatles and more about difficult family relationships and this makes for a satisfying drama.

Aaron Johnson gets Lennon’s tone of voice really well and portrays youthful vulnerability with pathos. Kristen Scott Thomas is also excellent but David Morrissey’s not really required to do much in the role of the step dad.

Debut feature director Sam Taylor-Wood follows Steve McQueen (Hunger) into film from art. Whilst McQueen makes an impact with his direction, Taylor-Wood’s less showy though there are some effective dream sequences and a melodramatic use of mirrors. This isn’t a criticism as she directs effectively. A good end to the year when watching films has become something of a struggle!

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One Response

  1. […] Lacey on films The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas (UK-US, 2008)Films of the year 2009 and the decadeNowhere Boy (UK-Canada, 2009)The Wings of the Dove (UK-US, 1997)House of Flying Daggers (Shi mian mai fu, China, 2004)The Piano […]

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