NOWHERE BOY, the John-Lennon-as-a-teen-ager movie directed by Ms Sam Taylor Wood and written by Matt Greenhalgh (from the memoir by Julia Baird) would rate, I think, especially high marks. The fact that it's Lennon's story will of course draw most fans to the film, but they'll stay because the events and characters on screen are presented with strength, intelligence, feeling -- and life. This is one vivid movie.
short piece about her in this week's New York magazine.) This may account for much of the film's success, as well as for its sidestepping some of the potholes of first-filmdom.
Aaron Johnson -- shown in the photos above, and at bottom -- who makes more than good on the promise he offered in Kick-Ass), the movie has a performer who's a lot better looking than Lennon ever was but still manages to resemble the musician enough at odd times to carry off the role. More important, Johnson conveys a keen intelligence under his increasing swagger and anger, and so is able to indicate below-the-surface agitation particularly well. Kristin Scott Thomas (below, in her second bulls-eye performance in as many weeks: click here for the first) plays Lennon's seemingly cold aunt Mimi to perfection. She let us observe those little changes that occur as a frozen heart begins to thaw.
Anne-Maire Duff (below, as Lennon's late-appearing birth mother Julia) however, who clinches the deal. Ms Duff gives such a generous, warts-and-all performance that she actually walks away with the movie. This is as it should be, for it is her character who commands not just the screen but the very life -- reality and fantasy -- of the Lennon character, once he understands, not simply the identity of this woman, but what this might now mean to him.
The Weinstein Company, opens Friday, October 8, at (of all places) Film Forum. This is certainly that storied house's most "mainstream" theatrical debut in ages. One imagines that the film will soon be appearing elsewhere around the country, though I have not yet been able to determine exactly where....