After The Runaways, the thought of another teen-centric music movie was wildly exciting. However, Nowhere Boy isn’t really about the making of The Beatles as The Runaways depicts the assembly of that band. In fact, for the majority of the film, music takes a backseat to family issues. Nowhere Boy may be devoid of the music video element that made The Runaways such a blast, but the drama that’s put in its place is just as effective.
Back when John was a little boy, an incident forced his mother, Julia, to give him away and so he fell under the care of his aunt Mimi and uncle George (Kristin Scott Thomas and David Threlfall). The film opens with a teenage Lennon played by Aaron Johnson living happily in Liverpool in 1955. When his uncle passes away, John runs straight into the arms of his mother, Julia (Anne-Marie Duff), which is where his flare for music really ignites. Julia is ecstatic to have her little boy home, welcomes him with open arms, plays him Elvis records and teaches him to strum a banjo.
It’s all fun and games until the reality of the situation comes into play. Julia’s husband isn’t thrilled to have John around the house fearing it’ll distract her from their two little girls while John’s aunt grows concerned for his sake as well as simply missing him. There’s a reason John and his mother were separated and the closer he gets to her, the closer he gets to having to acknowledge his troublesome past. As these tumultuous relationships collide, John still manages to assemble his first band, The Quarrymen, which ultimately grows to include both Paul McCartney and George Harrison (Thomas Sangster and Sam Bell) before setting off for a tour in Hamburg.
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