BEATLES FANS may be marginally interested in Nowhere Boy, the new biopic that focuses on John Lennon's adolescence. But there's not much in the way of either Beatles music or Beatles mythology; Lennon (Aaron Johnson) and boyhood friend Pete Shotton (Josh Bolt) walk by Strawberry Fields, and we see the Quarrymen's storied show at a church picnic where Lennon met Paul McCartney for the first time, but that's about it. The Beatles aren't even mentioned by name, most likely for legal reasons (there's an awkward scene where Lennon is asked the name of his band, and he demurely refuses to divulge). The rest of Nowhere Boy is consumed with Lennon's relationship with his flighty mother Julia (Anne-Marie Duff) and his stern Aunt Mimi (Kristin Scott Thomas).
It's important to know some background: Mimi raised young Lennon, while Julia was in and out of his life, acting more as a friend than a parent. This isn't clear for the beginning of Nowhere Boy, and it might be confusing if you don't know who Julia is—despite her shameless flirting with John, she's his mother. Lennon had an unconventional and somewhat unhappy childhood; Nowhere Boy focuses on this melancholy of his upbringing for what ends up being a morose and perfunctory film.