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Nowhere Boy Review Critics


Dave White Profile

And he's kind of going nowhere, too. Read full review


Jen Yamato Profile

All About His Mother Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter Ray Bennett

    Strong performances by Kristin Scott Thomas as the stern Aunt Mimi, who raised the future Beatle from the age of 5, and Anne-Marie Duff as his troubled mother heighten the dramatic appeal of what otherwise is quite a dull film.

    Read Full Review

  • 70

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    The script, adapted by Matt Greenhalgh from a memoir by Lennon's half-sister, Julia Baird, is flagrantly Oedipal; almost every scene between John and his mother is sexually charged. The curse is taken off most of these encounters by Anne-Marie Duff's eloquent work in the mother's role.

    Read Full Review

  • 88

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    It paints a complex picture of strained familial relations and a poignant look at the wounds inflicted on a sensitive soul by an unreliable parent.

    Read Full Review

  • 91

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Owen Gleiberman

    By the end of Nowhere Boy, you'll feel you know John Lennon better than you ever did.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Nowhere Boy reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

OK for kids 16+

Compelling, mature portrait of a musician as a young man.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this drama about the beginnings of musician John Lennon -- and, later, the Beatles -- could appeal to kids who've discovered the iconic band's music. But since it goes beyond a mere "origin story" to tackle weighty themes like parental abandonment and mental illness, it's probably too dark for tweens and younger teens. That said, there's also a lot of compassion and empathy here, especially between characters who have reason to opt for hatred and estrangement, and the movie has a positive, healing message overall. Expect some sexually charged scenes (make-outs, etc.), plus swearing (including "f--k") and underage drinking.

  • Families can talk about John Lennon's relationship with music. Did he seek out music as a refuge, or was it a way to connect with his mother? What does music mean to you?
  • How does this movie compare to others about artists in their early years? How is their art informed by their past?
  • How does the movie portray teen drinking? What are the consequences for the characters? What would the consequences be in real life?

The good stuff
  • message true1

    Messages: On the surface, the film is about how John Lennon started the Beatles, which has encouraging messages about sticking to your dreams and taking risks to achieve those dreams. There's also a celebration of artistic and musical pursuits. At the heart of it all, though, is a redefinition of what families are. The movie explores the idea that families are formed by will and circumstance, rather than just by genes, and that complications and grievances can be overcome with love.

  • rolemodels true1

    Role models: The John Lennon depicted here is a bit of a rascal: He skips school and causes trouble sometimes. But he's also passionate about his music and works hard and tirelessly to get his dreams on the right course. Two sisters lose sight of their love for each other when they fight over custody of a child, but they patch it up in the end.

What to watch for
  • violence false2

    Violence: A troubled teen knocks his head against a friend's head while slightly inebriated and in emotional turmoil. Parents scream in front of a young child. One character is hit by a car.

  • sex false2

    Sex: Flirting among teens; a married couple makes out. A high-school boy is shown trysting with a classmate, his hand under her hiked skirt; later, she assumes a sexual position (but no sex is shown).

  • language false2

    Language: Words like "bastard," "d--k," and "f--k" are used with some regularity.

  • consumerism false0

    Consumerism: Not applicable

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false2

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Teens drink in social situations, as well as sometimes with their parents. They're also shown imbibing while getting into trouble.