SIFF 2010: Nowhere Boy ***1/2

By Dennis Hartley

(Originally posted on Digby’s Hullabaloo on May 22, 2010)

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There’s nary a tricksy or false note in this little gem from U.K. director Sam Taylor-Wood, which is the toppermost of the poppermost on my SIFF list so far this year. Aaron Johnson gives a terrific, James Dean-worthy performance as a teenage John Lennon. The story zeroes in on a specific, crucially formative period of the musical icon’s life beginning just prior to his first meet-up with Paul McCartney, and ending on the eve of the “Hamburg period”. The story is not so much about the Fabs, however, as it is about the complex and mercurial dynamic of the relationship between John, his Aunt Mimi (Kirstin Scott Thomas) and his mother Julia (Anne-Marie Duff). The entire cast is excellent, but Scott Thomas (one of the best actresses strolling the planet) handily walks away with the film as the woman who raised John from childhood.

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