3.5, Europe, United States/Canada

Nowhere Boy

2009 / Sam Taylor-Wood > What’s most impressive about conceptual artist Taylor-Wood’s directorial debut is her ability to take the celebrity out of a teenage John Lennon. By the end of the film, his relationship with his family is of greater interest than his impending tales of success (though the hints are all over the place). Aaron Johnson, notable in the U.S. for his lead role in Kick-Ass, actually gets to show off his acting chops with a highly emotive portrayal of Lennon that’s hopefully indicative of better things to come. Also of note is the rich yet low-key performance by Kristin Scott Thomas who, having been neglected by the Academy for I’ve Loved You So Long, may actually get a much deserved nod.