Nowhere Boy Reviews

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Leslie Felperin
Variety
February 23, 2012
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Anthony Lane
New Yorker
October 19, 2010
Taylor-Wood has specialized in video installations and off-kilter portraits, and it was tempting to hope that her take on Lennon would unsettle and provoke. Instead, she stays resolutely on-kilter, as if awed into numbness by her subject.
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J. R. Jones
Chicago Reader
October 15, 2010
The events chronicled are all longstanding Beatles legends, though director Sam Taylor-Wood manages to stage even the most portentous moments without making you feel a celestial choir is in order.
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Tom Long
Detroit News
October 15, 2010
More love triangle than musical, the effective and often sweet Nowhere Boy offers a sense of the time and tension that produced John Lennon.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Stephen Cole
Globe and Mail
October 15, 2010
This portrait of a Beatle as a young man also gives filmmaker Sam Taylor-Wood, working on a thoughtful script by Matt Greenhalgh, creative room to manoeuvre, introducing us to John just as he and rock 'n' roll discover one another.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Joe Williams
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
October 15, 2010
Nowhere Boy is a poignant reminder that before the world was at his command, John Lennon was a bit like you and me.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Bill Goodykoontz
Arizona Republic
October 15, 2010
Although he doesn't look much like Lennon, Johnson captures that essence perfectly; the future icon is here a confused, hurt boy.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
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Ann Hornaday
Washington Post
October 15, 2010
The movie succumbs to maudlin sentiment and melodrama that Lennon himself might have dismissed with one of his signature cutting remarks.
Full Review | Original Score: 2/4
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Carrie Rickey
Philadelphia Inquirer
October 15, 2010
Taylor-Wood captures the sounds and textures of Liverpool and Blackpool, where a new beat is playing in the cafes and clubs.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Chris Vognar
Dallas Morning News
October 15, 2010
It relishes its myth-making enterprise without getting too cute about it.
Full Review | Original Score: 4.5/5
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Claudia Puig
USA Today
October 14, 2010
Director Sam Taylor-Wood weaves this tale with elegance, spot-on costumes and production design, and finely tuned casting.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Mick LaSalle
San Francisco Chronicle
October 14, 2010
To watch Nowhere Boy is to appreciate anew both the anger that drove Lennon and the strength of character it took for him to overcome it.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Richard Corliss
TIME Magazine
October 14, 2010
The reason to see Nowhere Boy is the charismatic Johnson, who effortlessly nails Lennon's strut, anger and sensitivity. Anybody seeing the movie could surely spot a star in the making.
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Colin Covert
Minneapolis Star Tribune
October 14, 2010
A Great Man biography gone comically wrong.
Full Review | Original Score: 1.5/4
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Tom Keogh
Seattle Times
October 14, 2010
Nowhere Boy is fully accessible for everyone, not just fans.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Steven Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer
October 14, 2010
Taylor-Wood stresses the universals rather than the specifics of John's youth. So don't go expecting a Fab Four origin story. The word Beatles is never uttered. But do go.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Ty Burr
Boston Globe
October 14, 2010
As sympathetic and well-turned as it is, Nowhere Boy only gives us more mythology.
Full Review | Original Score: 2.5/4
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Roger Ebert
Chicago Sun-Times
October 14, 2010
We reflect that even if all you need is love, that isn't always all you get.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Rene Rodriguez
Miami Herald
October 13, 2010
As the story of a young man struggling to find his own identity, Nowhere Boy would work even if its protagonist hadn't grown up to change the world.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Dana Stevens
Slate
October 9, 2010
The story of Lennon's early years is dramatic and painful enough to survive an imperfect retelling, even if you're already familiar with the stations of the cross.
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Peter Rainer
Christian Science Monitor
October 8, 2010
Johnson does a terrific job of capturing Lennon's mannerisms without coming across like a puppet.
Full Review | Original Score: B
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Manohla Dargis
New York Times
October 8, 2010
It's a pleasant-enough creation story to revisit, one weighted down by melodrama and lifted up by some rocking tunes.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Kyle Smith
New York Post
October 8, 2010
Nowhere Boy gets John's teen years in Liverpool exactly right, and first-time director Sam Taylor-Wood has made an excellent choice in casting Aaron Johnson.
Full Review | Original Score: 3.5/4
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Peter Travers
Rolling Stone
October 7, 2010
Nowhere Boy is smart enough not to spell it all out. You can hear it in Lennon's music, which plays in your head as the movie works its subtle magic.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/4
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Joe Morgenstern
Wall Street Journal
October 7, 2010
The creative process is almost audible in a silent moment when John turns an adoring gaze on the curvaceous body of his first guitar.
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Keith Phipps
AV Club
October 7, 2010
Nowhere Boy is modest in scope and more rewarding for it, highlighted by particularly strong performances by Thomas and Johnson, and a keen sense of time and place.
Full Review | Original Score: B-
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Owen Gleiberman
Entertainment Weekly
October 6, 2010
The power of Nowhere Boy is that, as directed by Sam Taylor-Wood, it captures how John Lennon's deeply sordid family life toyed with his soul by not letting him know who he was.
Full Review | Original Score: A-
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Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out
October 6, 2010
If only the script had been content to stick with its let's-start-a-band verve.
Full Review | Original Score: 3/5
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Eric Hynes
Village Voice
October 5, 2010
Taylor-Woods debut feature is a rote coming-of-age tableau that churns through stations of anger, inspiration, reconciliation, McCartney, and Harrison.
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Andrew O'Hehir
Salon.com
January 28, 2010
Rather than a rock 'n' roll biopic, this is a classic British family melodrama, anchored by one of the subtlest, richest roles in Kristin Scott Thomas' impressive career.
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Dave Calhoun
Time Out
December 18, 2009
Taylor-Wood and screenwriter Matt Greenhalgh mostly play it safe, offering an accessible period piece, free of nostalgia and full of key and credible emotional flashpoints.
Full Review | Original Score: 4/5