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Oct052010

'Kick-Ass' star Aaron Johnson looks promising as young John Lennon in 'Nowhere Boy'

I would describe myself as a Beatles fanatic.  I'm familiar with pretty much all of their music, from their Hamburg days to Sgt. Pepper and beyond; I've read biographies; I've watched the entire Anthology more than once.  That said, Beatles films rarely impress me.  Its just so difficult for a filmmaker to capture whatever magic element The Beatles had, and make it work as a movie.  

So when I read, some time ago, that a new biopic was in the works about the early life of the most controversial member of the Fab Four - John Lennon - I was excited, but cautious.  I was reasonably impressed by Aaron Johnson in Kick-Ass, but I knew little about him aside from that, and my confidence in his ability to pull off a personality as complex as Lennon was thin.

However, after viewing the trailer, I think I may have underestimated Johnson.  Alive with youth, cheeky, and ambitious, he conducts himself with the same easy arrogance that young Lennon must have possessed, all while exuding a boyish sort of charm that attempts to gloss over teenage insecurity.  Johnson may not be a dead ringer for John Lennon, but who says he has to be?  Looks only get you so far, and I think he actually has the chops to pull this off! 

Judge for yourself by viewing the Nowhere Boy trailer, and a second clip, after the jump.  

The film takes place during the earliest days of John Lennon's musical career, as he navigates a relationship with a mother he never knew, creates a friendship with Paul McCartney, hones his musical genius, and forms a band (The Quarrymen) that will eventually become one of the most influential music groups of all time.  Check out this clip of John and Paul's first meeting!  Aaron Johnson and Thomas Sangster (Paul) have fantastic chemistry, and the scene just feels appropriately tense and positively electric. 

The film also stars Kristin Scott Thomas (The English Patient) as John's aunt, Anne-Marie Duff as his mother, and Thomas Sangster as Paul McCartney.  It is Sam Taylor-Wood's directorial debut.  Her vision looks like a vibrant and affecting take on a truly fascinating piece of musical history, and reviews so far have been mixed, but generally positive (Nowhere Boy currently has an 84% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes.)  Needless to say, I'm looking forward to seeing this.  

Nowhere Boy was released last December in the U.K., and will open this Friday (October 8th) here in the U.S.  I'm sure its no coincidence that the next day, October 9th, would have been John Lennon's 70th birthday.  

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