We saw this movie on Boxing Day 2009 as soon as it was released as we were looking forward to it immensely.
Directed by Sam Taylor-Wood, this movie did not live up to expectations.  According to many, the events portrayed are not even accurate  although I have no way of knowing if this is in fact true.  The first disappointment was the lack of songs from the Beatle's.  This was my immediate reaction but on reflection, I realised that the film only covers John Lennon's life up to his teenage years - just to the point where his "group" was beginning to make a mark.
The acting was generally good with John played by Aaron Johnson  being driven against all odds to form a "group".  His birth mother (Ann- Marie Duff) was suitably doting and flirtatious but I am not sure of the authenticity of the suggestion she was Bi Polar.  Aunt Mimi who raised John and tried her best to keep him safe and straight, was played by Kristen Scott Thomas and it was this character that resonated with me as the performance by Scott Thomas subtly showed her concern and love for John even when she felt she had to be tough on him.

The cinematography was pedestrian as was the direction.  It is a film that is not exciting nor riveting but is a quite enjoyable illumination of John Lennon's early life.  The entrance of Paul McCartney into his life was one of the high points of the movie and I was waiting for this aspect of his life to be explored further.

Score:  7/10


This long-awaited bio of John Lennon was an interesting expose of the upbringing that formed him and endowed him with the talent and drive to achieve so much in his relatively short life.  In the title role, Aaron Johnson is quite a gorgeous mix of arrogance and vulnerability.  As a teenager, Lennon's apparently stable life to date is turned upsidedown when his "dad" dies and he discovers that his devoted but undemonstrative "mother" (Kristen Scott-Thomas) is actually his aunt.  His own mother (Anne-Marie Duff) turns out to be vivacious, flirtatious - and musical, but not very stable.  The young Lennon, clearly seeking a sense of self, tries out life with this alternate mother and there follows much conflict as the two women fight it out for his affection.  Coinciding with this emotional roller-coaster, Lennon is trying to establish his own band and master the guitar.  We get a clear picture of the extent of Lennon's drive and ambition in the development of the group but it is really interesting to note the depth of musical talent that is added when Paul McCartney joins.

Like Pepe, I was hoping for more of the Beatle's music but guess this was not appropriate to the context of a faithful bio.  Interestingly, the strongest character, Mimi, remained a constant in Lennon's life for the rest of his life - a good casting choice here with the usual powerful performance from Kristen Scott-Thomas.  Interesting and enjoyable up to a point.

Score:  7/10

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