Film / Nowhere Boy

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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.


Tropes:

  • Biopic
  • Dies Wide Open: Julia.
  • Disappeared Dad: John Lennon had a complicated family life.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: This is the story of how teenage John and Paul came to be these.
  • Flashback: In which we see a 5-year-old John choosing between his parents.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: John develops this over the course of the film, on account of the crap he goes through. Dramatised when he hits Pete at Julia's wake and Paul chases him outside and challenges him to punch him instead. John does exactly that.
  • 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.
  • Incurable Cough of Death: Who's always got a few spare cigarettes for John?
  • Jerkass: John is always in danger of becoming a fully-fledged one of these, stepping over the line when he headbutts Pete and then punches Paul at Julia's wake, then he immediately regrets it and gives Paul a Man Hug complete with Manly Tears.
  • 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.
  • Parental Substitute: Mimi becomes this, as John acknowledges in the film's last moments.
  • Raised by Grandparents: Well, aunt and uncle.
  • Really Gets Around: "Your mother has always needed company. Do you know what I mean by company?"
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: It takes John a whole film to learn that Mimi is this.
  • 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.
  • Talent Double: Averted. Everyone sang and played their own instruments, as is clear from the fact that they aren't that good. Special kudos, however, to Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Paul, who despite being right-handed learned to play left-handed rock & roll guitar very well.
  • Tell Me About My Father: "Where's Dad?"
  • Undercrank: Used to show the passage of time as John learns the banjo at Julia's.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye: John's kindly uncle George is in the film for its first ten minutes or so.
  • Young Future Famous People

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/NowhereBoy