'Nowhere' interests Beatles fans
"He's a real nowhere man,
Sitting in his nowhere land,
Making all his nowhere plans for nobody."
While the lyrics to "Nowhere Man" are attributed to The Beatles' John Lennon and Paul McCartney, it's widely held that the song was written mainly by Lennon, who sang lead vocals on the 1966 No. 3 Billboard chart hit from the album "Rubber Soul" ("Yesterday and Today" in the United States' release).
The title of "Nowhere Man" inspired the title of the film, "Nowhere Boy," which purports to tell the story of John Lennon's teen years, leading up to his skiffle band, The Quarrymen, formed in 1957, and concluding with The Beatles perched on the precipice of fame, about to cross the Channel for those transformative 1960 gigs in Hamburg, Germany.
"Nowhere Boy" is of chief interest to Beatles' aficionados and Lennon fans. The biopic depicts Lennon as being an extremely angry young man, a ruffian with a mischievous nature and cruel streak. The young Lennon acts, reacts, regrets, has remorse and apologizes.
The screenplay by Matt Greenhalgh ("Control") is based on a memoir by Julia Dykins Baird, who is a daughter of John "Bobby" Albert Dykins and Lennon's mother Julia.
Lennon's life was bookended with tragedy. His mother, Julia, died after being hit by a vehicle in 1958.
Baird wrote "John Lennon, My Brother," after Lennon was killed in 1980, and "Imagine This - Growing Up with My Brother John Lennon" (2007).
Lennon (often spot-on Aaron Johnson) is shown in an emotional tug-of-war between his mother, Julia (flamboyant Anne-Marie Duff) and Aunt Mimi (reserved Kristin Scott Thomas) in a lower middle-class Liverpool, England, neighborhood.
Lennon's father, Alfred Lennon, a merchant seaman, never appears. Aunt Mimi's husband, who later dies, embraces him. Julia's boyfriend rebukes him.
By turns, Lennon's music, political causes and life, for better or worse, was a lonely boy's quest for a father's love not found, ironically, on Menlove Avenue, where he grew up with Aunt Mimi.
Director Sam Taylor-Wood, in her feature film debut, makes do with a screenplay long on melodrama and short on music. We hear snippets of the rock 'n' roll that influenced Lennon and the lads from Liverpool.
There's a version of the first Lennon-McCartney composition, "Hello, Little Girl." Over the closing credits, Lennon's "Mother," his post-Beatles angst-ridden paean to his mother, Julia, is heard.
One of the most intriguing segments is at the end of the film where photos of the actual Lennon, McCartney, George Harrison, Aunt Mimi and Julia are shown, as if the director is saying, "See, I got that right."
Taylor-Wood gets many things right. Still, "Nowhere Boy" nowhere near provides much insight into John Lennon.
For that we have "In His Own Write" and other writings, his drawings, his songwriting and his recordings.
But we don't have him.
"Nowhere Boy," MPAA Rated R (Restricted. Under 17 Requires Accompanying Parent Or Adult Guardian) for language and a scene of sexuality; Genre: Biography, Drama; Run time: 1 hr., 38 min.; Distributed by The Weinstein Company.
Credit Readers Anonymous: The movie's limited United States' theatrical release date was Oct. 8, one day before what would have been John Lennon's 70th birthday.
Box Office, Nov. 12: "Megamind" again controlled moviegoers' minds, No. 1, $30 million; $89.7 million, two weeks, stopping "Unstoppable," opening at No. 2 with $23.5 million.
3. "Due Date," $15.5 million, $59 million, two weeks; 4. "Skyline," $11.6 million, opening; 5. "Morning Glory," $9.6 million, $12.2 million (opening Nov. 10); 6. "For Colored Girls," $6.7 million, $30.9 million, two weeks; 7. "Red," $5.1 million, $79.8 million, five weeks; 8. "Paranormal Activity 2," $3 million, $82 million, four weeks; 9. "Saw 3D," $2.7 million, $43.4 million, three weeks; 10. "Jackass 3D," $2.3 million, $114.7 million, five weeks; 35. "Nowhere Boy," $65,000 (on 111 screens); $1.3 million, six weeks
Unreel, Nov. 19:
"Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1," PG-13: Director David Yates returns, breaking the final book into two parts, nearly a decade after Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, now looking more post-graduate, took Track No. 9 to Hogwarts.
"The Next Three Days," PG-13: Russell Crowe, Elizabeth Banks and Liam Neeson, directed by Paul Haggis directs the remake of the French thriller "Pour Elle" ("Anything for Her")
Three Popcorn Boxes out of Five Popcorn Boxes