October 29, 2010

Nowhere Boy

I'm a big Beatles fan, and I have always known that John Lennon had an emotionally turbulent adolescence, but I didn't realize the depth of the emotional stress, and the potential as a heartwrenching drama, until I saw Nowhere Boy. After seeing this movie, you'll have a new-found understanding of why Lennon was such an angry asshole for the whole of the 1960s, and his belated emotional rehabilitation (and image reinvention as a peaceful hippie) from 1969 forwards will make a lot more sense.
Aaron Johnson is terrific as Lennon. He looks enough like him not to be distracting, the accent is authentic, not a Yellow Submarine-style "Liverpool" copycat, and when he wields a classic Lennon cutting remark, the wit feels all too familiar. It's funny in A Hard Day's Night when Lennon is playing himself for laughs, but when he does it in order to make his mother cry, it's heartbreaking.
Only a Beatlemaniac would care about the performances of Lennon's family, so I'll just say that Kristin Scott-Thomas is just how I pictured Lennon's sourpuss-but-loving Aunt Mimi. Anne-Marie Duff plays his mother Julia as a bipolar damaged woman who develops an unhealthy attachment to her estranged teenage son.
As for the rest of the Fab Four, we get to see The Day John Met Paul reenacted (July 6, 1957), which gave me chills, and the day George auditioned for the band, just like I pictured.
Thomas Sangster (last seen as the 11-year-old drummer in Love Actually) looks nothing like Paul McCartney, but he's perfect anyways, with his pink cheeks and skinny fifteen-year-old body. When he auditions for John on "Twenty-Flight Rock", I was convinced. (The kid playing George only has two lines.)
October 23, West Newton Cinema, Screen 4 again, just like Howl ten days earlier.