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Film / Nowhere Boy


Nowhere Boy is a 2009 film about the life of a teenaged John Lennon (played by Aaron Johnson) in Liverpool. It deals with Lennon's relationships with his aunt and guardian Mimi Smith (Kristin Scott Thomas) and his free-spirited mother Julia (Anne-Marie Duff), as well as his friendship with Paul McCartney (Thomas Brodie Sangster) and the formation of The Beatles.


  • Biopic
  • Dies Wide Open: Julia.
  • Disappeared Dad: John Lennon had a complicated family life.
  • Flashback: In which we see a 5-year-old John choosing between his parents.
  • Incest Subtext: Seems to be apparent between John and his mom. Justified to an extent, since John is a teenaged boy meeting his sexually adventurous mother for the first time. Most apprarent in one scene that shows John and Julia lying together on a couch, with a shot of John's hand beating time to a song, then Julia's hand beating time to a song—then cutting to a scene where John is fingering a girl in the park.
  • Missing Mom: Really complicated for John.
    • Also discussed is the fact that Paul's mother died from cancer the year before he met John.
  • Move Along, Nothing to See Here: Mimi as Uncle George is carted away in an ambulance.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • The first song that Julia teaches John on the banjo is a bit of ribaldry called "Maggie Mae", which the Beatles would over a decade later include on the Let It Be album.
    • The film opens with the opening guitar chord from A Hard Day's Night and a shot of Lennon running through Liverpool like the opening sequence in that movie.
    • Lennon is shown biking past the Salvation Army's Strawberry Field children's home.
  • Oop North
  • Parental Sexuality Squick / Right Through the Wall: John has an uncomfortable moment at his mother's house
  • Raised by Grandparents: Well, aunt and uncle.
  • Really Gets Around: "Your mother has always needed company. Do you know what I mean by company?"
  • Romance on the Set: Johnson and director Sam Taylor Wood have since had a baby together.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: Mimi is straight-laced, stern, and practical. Julia is a flighty free spirit to the point of emotional instability. This is why John got parked with his aunt.
    • This is exaggerated in the film, which cuts Lennon's three other aunts. With five kids, of course two are going to come to heads; making it seem as though Mimi and Julia are the only siblings each other has ratchets this up a notch.
  • Tell Me About My Father: "Where's Dad?"
  • Undercrank: Used to show the passage of time as John learns the banjo at Julia's.
  • Young Future Famous People