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Parents' Guide to

Nowhere Boy

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Compelling, mature portrait of a musician as a young man.

Movie R 2010 98 minutes
Nowhere Boy Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 16+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 15+
This movie was truly awful, nothing happened throughout the whole film.
age 17+

Sexual content worse than reviewed

I only watched about 30 minutes of this movie, or got turned off when the "high schooler has a tryst with a classmate" scene came on. Per Common Sense Media it was mild and didn't show anything. However, the scene I saw was watching John bring his classmate to orgasm with his hand (she's thrashing around, making noise, you see him thrusting his hand, etc) before she turns around ready for sex. At which his pants drop and I turned the film off horrified! We seek to avoid such blatant sexuality in movies /TV shows in our house and I would not have started the movie had I known. Further motivation to turn off the movie was John's mother was flirting with him and she decides to lay on the couch with him. This causes him issues with lust and that's when he seemingly remembers his "tryst with a classmate." I had no desire to watch the suggestive content to its conclusion -- be it only mental lust /orgasms to the thought of his mother, or if it worsens to his mother "making a move" on him. I'm giving it 2 stars because the story itself thus far was interesting and "17 & up" as that is the general standard for a Rated R movie. If I had a 17 year old son/daughter would they be allowed to watch this? No!

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (16 ):

The problem with many biopics is that sometimes you can't see beyond the icon rendered onscreen; not so with Nowhere Boy, director Sam Taylor-Wood's eloquent retelling of Lennon's teen years. There are plenty of cues, of course, to remind viewers that this John Lennon is the iconic musician who founded the Beatles. The characteristic impishness, the swagger, the intensity when he plays guitar -- it's all there. When we discover how fraught his relationship was with his mother, we understand the distress in his song "Julia." (It's his mother's name.) Even the movie's title encapsulates what he may have felt -- lost between two women who loved him and shared the responsibility of raising him, with no father in sight. But Taylor-Wood manages to make viewers forget about the legend and, in turn, care about the person Lennon was before he became what he did.

Johnson is brilliant as Lennon. Though not a facsimile, physically, there's enough of a resemblance in both looks and spirit to make it work. Scott Thomas gives us a layered Mimi, both foreboding and loving. And Duff's Julia is simultaneously maddeningly fragile and winningly likeable. There isn't much direct mention of the Beatles here; in fact, none at all, save for an oblique reference that tantalizes because we know how big the group eventually becomes. We see Paul, Ringo, and George, but not much. In fact, we could've spent more time with them. And it would have been nice to get more material on Lennon's father, too. Still, this journey takes you far from nowhere, right to the heart of a legend in the making.

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