The John Lennon Story
Nowhere Boy
Review by Ross Anthony

I have mixed feelings about this film. But, let's start with the good. Like many of you reading this review, I'm a staunch Beatles fan. I've got half their albums, read the articles, watch the documentaries, listen to Breakfast with the Beatles, seen the tribute bands, know the lyrics, that sort of thing. I've even purchased Sean and Julian's CD's. So, I suppose that should prove my allegiance to the music and expose my bias toward the subject.

That said, John's always been an intriguing, yet difficult personality for me to grasp on the whole. (Aren't we all?) I much prefer to take him song by song. In some ways, this film endeavors to explain the origins of that perplexing, provocative, charming character. However, as we watch films like this, there's the danger of assuming the filmmakers have got it right. As a filmmaker myself, I know, even when you make every effort to get it right, you really can't. You have to guess at some points along the continuum, and even how you pace the events effects the reality portrayed. And especially because this film is made so well, the audience must be all the more careful not to assume the creators perfectly told the story of a man born more than 70 years ago, and who's been dead 30.

So, perhaps my reaction to the film is too personal, not general enough for such a review. (Thankfully, the internet remedies that with a healthy stocked of reviews.) Once I acclimated to the face of Aaron Johnson as Lennon, the film (and Johnson's acting chops) drew me in. It's intimate, it's full of inner turmoil and conflict, which questions and lingers -- that makes perfect sense, and feels right. However, the climactic moment, in contrast, comes off contrived. It revels for a long second in the soap opera tangle, then shortly after, resolves too quickly for real life, but necessarily so in cinema time.

In short, even anonymously, the growing-up story of John Lennon makes great fodder for an "entertaining" film, but something about it cajoles an ashamedness of a voyeur. This particular production does a quality job of presenting the broken-hearted beginnings of John Lennon which perhaps propelled his passion for music and lyric composition; but in search of a "proper wind up," the film tilts the spotlight away from its story and brightly on its own craft.

-- Books by Author/Illustrator Ross Anthony --

  • Nowhere Boy. Copyright © 2010.
  • Starring Aaron Johnson, Kristin Scott Thomas, Anne-Marie Duff, Thomas Sangster. Directed by Sam Taylor Wood.

Grade..........................B+ (2.5/4)

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Copyright © 1998-2022 Ross Anthony, Author - Speaker - Solo World Circumnavigator In addition to reviewing films and interviewing celebs at, traveling the world, composing great music, motivational speaking, Mr. Anthony also runs his own publishing company in the Los Angeles area. While traversing the circumference of the planet writing books and shooting documentaries, Mr. Anthony has taught, presented for, worked &/or played with locals in over 30 countries & 100 cities (Nairobi to Nagasaki). He's bungee-jumped from a bridge near Victoria Falls, wrestled with lions in Zimbabwe, crashed a Vespa off a high mountain road in Taiwan, and ridden a dirt bike across the States (Washington State to Washington DC). To get signed books ("Rodney Appleseed" to "Jinshirou") or schedule Ross to speak check out: or call 1-800-767-7186. Go into the world and inspire the people you meet with your love, kindness, and whatever it is you're really good at. Check out books by Ross Anthony. Rand() functions, Pho chicken soup, rollerblading, and frozen yogurt (w/ blueberries) also rock! (Btw, rand is short for random. It can also stand for "Really Awkward Nutty Dinosaurs" -- which is quite rand, isn't it?) Being alive is the miracle. Special thanks to Ken Kocanda, HAL, Jodie Keszek, Don Haderlein, Mom and Pops, my family, R. Foss, and many others by Ross Anthony. Galati-FE also deserves a shout out. And thanks to all of you for your interest and optimism. Enjoy great films, read stirring novels, grow.

Last Modified: Monday, 31-Jan-2011 09:01:49 PST