Nowhere Boy

This docudrama explores John Lennon's trajectory from his first har- monica playing and banjo picking as a rebellious teenager in Liverpool, to his departure for Hamburg with former Quarrymen bandmates Stuart Sutcliff, Paul McCartney and George Harrison. (Hamburg was where the Beatles forged their final group and refined their craft.)

Aaron Johnson ("Kickass") is far too pretty to play John Lennon, but he captures the Liverpudlian accent and it's fun to watch him segue from a pair of Buddy Holly glasses (Holly was an early idol) to an Elvis hairdo, as he searches for a sexy persona. McCartney and Harrison are played by baby-faced Thomas Sangster ("Love, Actually") and Sam Bell, respec- tively.

The main thrust of this film is about Lennon's anger and confusion. He is raised by his Aunt Mimi and Uncle George, while his mother lives nearby with her new husband and two younger children. This has never been explained to him, and as we learn more, we realize this melodramatic tale HAS to be true, no self-respecting storyteller could get away with it.

Of course Beatles fans will, with the arrogance of 20/20 hindsight, smile at little things: Paul and John walk past a Strawberry Fields sign; Paul says they should write their own music to avoid royalty fees; John admits he only writes "a little poetry." I had to keep reminding myself that artistic license doesn't matter now, because this story is considered history, not current events....