The go-to site for what makes life worth living in and around Petersfield, Hampshire, and some other stuff too. For flaneurs, bon vivants, indeed boulevardiers of every complexion - why go anywhere else?

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Before he was fab - 'Nowhere Boy'

What an oddly uncertain and ultimately unsatisfying film 'Nowhere Boy' is. Very good in parts - particularly in the psychological tug-of-war between Julia and Mimi for the soul of the nascent Lennon - but powerfully reminiscent elsewhere of those clunky (if still enjoyable) British pop films of the 70s and 80s (the David Essex vehicle 'That'll Be the Day'which covers almost exactly the same timespan, often came to mind, with certain scenes seemingly almost directly transplanted). It veers rather wildly between somewhat heavy-handed psychodrama (particularly in the less than subtly-suggested incestuous feelings between John and Julia) and stodgily conventional 'biopic' ("John, this is Paul, he sure is square but he knows which way up a tune goes and he can play 20 Flight Rock") but - surely crucially - never really makes one believe that the teenager on the screen is actually a young Lennon as opposed to any other troubled youth in the late 1950s.

Excellent performances from all the leads keep 'Nowhere Boy' afloat (though Kristin Scott-Thomas's cheekbones seemed slightly miscast) but it seemed to need something both a bit more coherent and a bit further off the wall to justify the screen time and I'm surprised that Sam Taylor-Wood didn't deliver it. By no means terrible, and will probably work better on the small screen - just a bit, well... ordinary.

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