Artists-turned-film-maker Sam Taylor-Wood’s biopic of the young John Lennon is warm, involving and very human.
Where other artists-turned-film-makers stamp their creative credentials over every tortured frame, with her feature debut Sam Taylor-Wood does something unexpectedly unfashionable. Not for her the experiments of Steve McQueen’s Hunger or the impressionistic photography of Julian Schnabel’s The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. She focuses on the basics: production design, screenplay and, crucially, performance. While Nowhere Boy, her biopic of the young John Lennon, is not the most daring or experimental piece of work you’ll see, it is warm, involving and very human.
Playing Lennon is 19-year-old Aaron Johnson.The movie-star good looks are not strictly authentic, but Johnson captures something of Lennon’s chippy, abrasive wit and his mercurial aggression. The story explores Lennon’s relationships with two very different women. Kristin Scott Thomas is terrific as Aunt Mimi, the model of brittle, British propriety and the young John’s guardian. John’s long-lost mother Julia (Anne-Marie Duff) is an unpredictable, alluring creature. She scatters kisses and compliments like confetti, and woos John with a flirtatious intimacy.
In this solidly middle-brow picture, evocative production design and eloquent use of colour — Mimi stern in beige and brown; Julia riotous in red and orange — hints at Taylor-Wood’s artistic background. But the impressive performances suggest that the most useful talent that she brings to field as a film-maker is a gift for working magic with actors.
the Times review of Nowhere Boy.
A still from the film.
In Spite Of All The Danger taken from Nowhere Boy
a must for all lovers of John Lennon.