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Nowhere Boy

1 h 37 min2009X-Ray15
Liverpool 1955: a smart and troubled fifteen-year old John Lennon is hungry for experience. Yearning for a normal family, John escapes into the new and exciting world of rock n' roll.
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Supporting actors
Josh Bolt
Robert BernsteinKevin LoaderDouglas Rae
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Prime Video (streaming online video)
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4.6 out of 5 stars

924 global ratings

  1. 73% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 16% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 7% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars
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Top reviews from the United Kingdom

J. Temperance (Hull)Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 28 April 2020
4.0 out of 5 stars
Ballad Of John & Julia
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I'm never, ever, sure about watching these bio-pics. I don't think you can ever reduce even just a few years of a persons life to an hour or two of cinema. However, this film, despite its time-line constrictions, character amalgamations and dramatic licence does work. I do think it gives a fair feel for pre-fame Lennon's life.

Managing to portray a character before they were famous must always be difficult as you have to at least hint at the person they become even though they are not yet that person. Therefore the director and the main protagonist pull this off very well.

However, I do think the film works mainly because it works as a drama in itself. It doesn't really have to be about John Lennon. It is a story of a conflicted adolescent who doesn't know himself because he doesn't know the truth of his past and who is also torn because he doesn't know who, if anyone, does and can love him. Therefore although I think Aaron Taylor-Johnson is excellent as Lennon (he would have been truly slated by beatles fans if he hadn't been) it is Anne-Marie Duff (as Julia) and Kristen Scott Thomas (as Aunt Mimi) who really steal the film. They are both totally perfect in their roles as a still childishly young and niave mother and a prim and proper aunt whose inability or reluctance to exhibit emotion comes across as cold and calculated.

A film worth watching for Lennon fans and otherwise.
2 people found this helpful
miss kittyReviewed in the United Kingdom on 11 May 2014
5.0 out of 5 stars
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I'll admit i was not interested one bit in seeing this biopic about the early life of the great John Lennon what a fool i was. This is without doubt one of the best films i've ever came across in the last couple of years i remember watching the Johnny Cash biopic Walk Lhe Line and my foot was tapping i got engrossed in the story that i wanted to learn more about cash. I had the same feeling with Nowhere Boy it covers the teen years of Lennon and his family and friends and how his passion for music started out i found it very moving at times as well as funny The three leads are just beyond perfection Aaron Taylor Johnson, Anne-marie Duff and Kristen Scott Thomas are as good as any would be oscar winner and also David Threlfall plays a yound Paul Mccartney. Sam Taylor Wood did a incredible job with this story which isnt easy as it's someone life and a lot of people have their say on what the person did and who they were, for anyone looking for 5/5 movie you just found it. .
4 people found this helpful
fastforwardfanReviewed in the United Kingdom on 06 October 2015
4.0 out of 5 stars
What made John Lennon
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Well acted bio of John Lennon whilst a teenager growing up with his aunt and finding his real mother in his late teens.
I don't think many fans would know JL at this age, but I thought Aaron Johnson seemed to capture his cockiness and quick wit. Those times in the movie where this is shown are some of the best bits, but I felt that the JL character as written was silent too often at times when you would have thought he would have had something to say. Kristin Scott Thomas and Ann Marie Duff as his Aunt Mimi and mum Julia respectively were also excellent and particularly AMD stood out as the free spirited but fragile Julia. David Threlfall is great as his Uncle George, playing the joker and being more friendly with young John, compared to stern Aunt Mimi.

Not so good ...
I thought the sex scene was a little too explicit for the context of the movie and didn't feel right. You certainly wouldn't want to watch it with your mum or aunt!

I have to agree with some others that Thomas Brodie Sangster was a bit of wimpy kid as Paul McCartney, and whilst well acted was too much of a contrast to Johnson's mature, good looking Lennon.

The story verges on the melodramatic at times, but manages to stay just the right side.

It is not about the 'famous' JL or much about the Beatles either, and if it wasn't about JL it would be a fairly ordinary tale, of a rebellious teen growing up in 50's Liverpool, which may annoy some people expecting a bit more about the formation of the Beatle's and a bit more of their music. There was little of this if any in the film.

I would like to see a film about the formation of the Beatle's, and their rise to fame and to break up- now that would be really interesting.
7 people found this helpful
Justin D. RumsbyReviewed in the United Kingdom on 24 August 2019
3.0 out of 5 stars
Doesn’t feel right.
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I’m a bit unsure about this film. I had no idea it was about John Lennon. I might have given it a miss because, any film on establishment figure (living or dead) is usually inaccurate or sometimes border on outright lies (at the behest of the living celebs).

There’s something very off about this film. We’re introduced to a cheeky little boy. Then, after a spell with his weird mother becomes a right vulgar d-head. Almost over night and after being introduced to rock n roll. Not a good advert for rock n roll 🤠

Was Paul McCartny really like that at 15? Doesn’t seem like the same person. It’s a nice story but, is any of it true? Who knows?
One person found this helpful
S. MuzykaReviewed in the United Kingdom on 23 May 2010
5.0 out of 5 stars
A Film That Goes Somewhere
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First things first, this is NOT a film about John Lennon in The Beatles. It is a portrayal of his troubled teenaged years when he was a cocky tearaway with a chip on his shoulder and a lot of "issues". Most Beatles fans will be aware of the turbulent family life suffered by John during this time and for those of you who think it's a lot of fiction well I can tell you a lot of what is shown here DID happen. It may have been embellished in some parts for dramatic effect but on the whole it's pretty accurate. The slightly sexual edge to John's relationship with his mother, for instance, may feel uncomfortable at times but later in life John himself intimated that he had feelings in that direction. MAJOR SPOILER ALERT COMING UP! His utter devestation at her loss stayed with him till the end: "I lost her twice" as he once put it when she was killed just yards from the house he lived in with his Aunt Mimi, not long after he had re-established contact. When you're portraying real-life figures the casting has to be spot on of course, and thankfully in this film it is. Kristin Scott-Thomas and Anne-Marie Duff (as Aunt Mimi and Julia) need no introduction and are as good as you would expect. The part of John is played by newcomer Aaron Johnson and he acquits himself very well indeed. Playing an iconic figure is no easy task as everybody has there own ideas about the person in question but he does a great job. The accent might be a bit ropey at times but he has the Lennon sneer down to a tee and handles the more emotional scenes excellently. The other plus of the film is that the actors playing instruments actually learnt how to play which helps the musical segments immensely (there's nothing worse than seeing an actor who obviously can't play a guitar or drums in a film forming completely wrong chord shapes). The period look of the film is also very well captured and if you're only even a casual Beatles/Lennon fan I would recommend this film highly. The 2.35:1 print scrubs up beautifully on Blu-Ray and the sound is excellent.
4 people found this helpful
NoddieReviewed in the United Kingdom on 03 October 2014
4.0 out of 5 stars
When I watched the film I got the impression I had seen it previously - maybe it had been shown on TV - however I still thought
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I read other reviews which tempted me to purchase the DVD. When I watched the film I got the impression I had seen it previously - maybe it had been shown on TV - however I still thought the film was good & like some other reviewers I was part of the sixties and was a fan of the Beatles. I have a few books etc. of the band & have collected various snippets of info of the 'fab four' both as a group and as individuals but do not profess to be any type of expert. As for the film I would say that I quiet enjoyed it and thought that most of the general detail was as can be found in various books, diaries/calenders & memories of events and all had a familiar feeling to them and any suggested minor inaccuracies did not detract from the film. Although the cast were not lookalikes there was no mistaking who they were portraying due mainly to the script which I obviously found to be enlightening. The sets were of a very believable
2 people found this helpful
JoCeeReviewed in the United Kingdom on 29 December 2020
5.0 out of 5 stars
Highly Recommend
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I think it portrays John's early years pretty well and the acting is excellent. It's a bit of a tear jerky in parts but anyone who appreciates the truth and honesty that John Lennon gave to his music will expect that.
BuddyReviewed in the United Kingdom on 26 May 2010
5.0 out of 5 stars
Very enjoyable and well-made
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Having watched Nowhere Boy on DVD (not in the cinema) I can report that I was pleasantly surprised at its quality. The central character of Lennon is played well by Aaron Johnson, an actor still only aged 19 at the time of writing. He captures the look and attitude and is very believable. The actresses Kristin Scott Thomas and Anne-Marie Duff are equally convincing in their roles of Lennon's aunt Mimi and mother Julia. The story explores his loss of a traditional childhood and the channelling of his energies and experiences into music. The film is very well paced and is successful at recreating the feel of Liverpool in the 50s/60s. I particularly enjoyed the generous extras that detail the making of the film, and the thoughts of the director, cast members and production team, and contributed to understanding their great achievement in realising quite an ambitious project. Recommended.
3 people found this helpful
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