Each Monday, film fan and champion of the downtrodden Jordan Sims picks out an overlooked gem or unfairly maligned masterpiece – and gives them the spotlight they so dearly deserve.
This week, it’s the turn of Sam Taylor-Wood’s 2009 John Lennon teenage biopic Nowhere Boy. Here are five reasons why it’s an underrated classic.
1. Aaron Taylor-Johnson
In a film that initially appears to portray John Lennon as the British Elvis Presley, it seems hard to imagine him as anything other than a carbon copy of the stereotypical King. But despite going in hard with the quiff, Johnson gives the mythical Beatles legend his own personality, raising all kinds of empathy for the character in the process.
2. It’s suitably wild
It’s hard to think of the world-peace-champion Lennon as a young, invincible vagabond tearing up the town, but this is exactly the side of him that Nowhere Boy plays up to, opening a window into the young Lennon’s life, and sparking even more yearning for ’60s Britain from retro enthusiasts everywhere.
3. Fantastic, heart-churning quotes
In response to: “You don’t belong anywhere”, Lennon replies: “Is there nowhere full of geniuses sir? Because I probably belong there”. Nothing short of verbal sugar.
Other gems include:
“Why couldn’t God make me Elvis?” Which is answered with: “Because he was saving you for John Lennon.”
And to tug on your heartstrings: “There’s no point hating someone you love”.
Fittingly poetic to the core.
4. The easter eggs
On Lennon’s bedroom wall is a poster of a football player and two officials, which is the exact image that appears on a later solo album of Lennon’s, Walls and Bridges.
An actual photo of John can also be seen later in the film, but I’ll let you find that one when you inevitably watch the film after reading this.
5. It doesn’t throw THE BEATLES in your face
It would have been very easy to do, especially as the film features Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Paul. But the somewhat famous band isn’t actually mentioned throughout, or even alluded to.
It’s admirable that Sam Taylor-Johnson (spouse of Aaron) doesn’t ride off the back of the Beatles brand power, like so many have done before.
Watch the trailer for Nowhere Boy:
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