Nowhere Boy (Blu-ray) (2009)

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Released 27-Apr-2010

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Drama Main Menu Audio & Animation
Deleted Scenes-With Introductions from Director
Featurette-Lennons Liverpool
Featurette-Making Of
Featurette-Anatomy of a Scene
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 97:36
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Sam Taylor Wood

Icon Entertainment
Starring Julia Baird
Matt Greenhalgh
Aaron Johnson
Kristin Scott Thomas
Anne-Marie Duff
Thomas Sangster
David Morrissey
David Threlfall
Ophelia Lovibond
Case ?
RPI ? Music Alison Goldfrapp
Will Gregory

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (224Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

†††† ...or John Lennon: The Teenage Years. Nowhere Boy is a biopic that focuses on John Lennon's formative teen years (played quite convincingly by Aaron Johnson), during which time he first hooked up with Paul McCartney (Thomas Sangster) and came to terms with his difficult family situation, particularly the return of his mother (Anne-Marie Duff) into his life. The latter is the primary focus of the film.

†††† Lennon was more or less abandoned by his birth parents and raised by his aunt (Kristin Scott Thomas) and uncle (David Threlfall). Upon discovering his mother lives quite close by with her new husband (David Morrissey) and half sisters that he has never met, Lennon meets her and gets to know her. All the while he keeps these meetings secret from his Aunt, who is more like a real mother to him and has avoided contact with the sister she fell out with years ago. Somewhere along the line he also forms a skiffle band with his classmates and begins the journey towards becoming a musical legend.

†††† Nowhere Boy effectively uses the distinctly recognisable personalities of the future Beatles members to hook viewers into what would otherwise be a run-of-the-mill coming of age dramedy (albeit a well made one). That hook also proves to be the downfall of the film, as it is forced to drag on for a good 15 minutes past the natural conclusion of its main story in order to reach the point where The Quarrymen transition to The Beatles. Though it is far from a damning fault, the tacked-on feel of the final part of the film spoils what is a fluid narrative up to that point and lessens the emotional resonance the film would have otherwise left with the viewer.

†††† The chemistry between Aaron Johnson and Kristin Scott Thomas is magnificent. The pair presents a heartfelt and utterly believable parent/child relationship that carries the film. The supporting cast are also quite good, most notably the primary four supports David Threlfall, Anne-Marie Duff, Thomas Sangster and David Morrissey.

†††† The musical side to the proceedings is well handled. The film features many original Quarrymen tunes, or more popular tunes they covered, performed by the actors themselves (vocally, at least).

†††† A flawed film but engaging viewing, thanks to some great performances and genuinely interesting source material.

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Transfer Quality


†††† The film is presented in its original 2.35:1 aspect ratio in 1080p.

†††† The video is reasonably sharp and clear. There is a mild level of film grain visible in the image in most scenes. There is a reasonable level of shadow detail, although the blacks in the image could do with a little more depth (particularly the many black suits worn in the film which tend to look a little too flat).

†††† The film deliberately employs a drab, dated colour scheme for the most part. As bland as this sounds, this colour scheme fits the tone of the film well. The colours themselves could use a little more depth however - they don't look bad, but could look better.

†††† There is no sign of film artefacts or compression artefacts in the image.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


†††† The film features a choice of English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1 and English Dolby Digital 2.0 (224 Kbps) audio tracks. Unsurprisingly, the former is light years ahead of the latter in terms of quality. The rest of this review focuses on the former.

†††† The dialogue is clear and easy to understand. The wonky Liverpudlian accents are never too thick to confuse listeners. The audio is well synchronised to the video.

†††† The film features covers of many tunes of the day, plenty of which are sung by the leads as The Quarrymen.

†††† The surrounds are well used to build an engaging sound field. The subwoofer effectively supports the music in the film well. There is nothing particularly fancy about the sound on offer, just a good clean mix.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


Featurette Recreating Lennon & The Quarrymen (8:10)

†††† A featurette that fawns over the wonderful cast. Aaron Johnson and Thomas Sangster, understandably, get the bulk of the coverage here.

Director Interview (10:17)

†††† A rather dull interview with director Sam Taylor Wood. Nothing particularly resonates in this ten minutes of stating the obvious.

Audio Commentary with Director Sam Taylor Wood

†††† Sam Taylor Wood offers a reasonably interesting commentary.

Deleted Scenes (9:39)

†††† A handful of deleted scenes with introductions from the director. Nothing terribly interesting here and it is easy to see why most was trimmed.

Featurette - Lennonís Liverpool (4:47)

†††† A brief look at the changes to Liverpool between now and then and the techniques used to bring the Liverpool of John Lennon's era to life on the big screen.

Featurette-Making Of (8:34)

†††† A press-kit style "making of" featurette. Not bad as far as these things go, but inessential.

Photo Gallery

†††† Publicity stills. Ho Hum.

Featurette - Anatomy of a Scene

†††† A rather interesting deconstruction of the scene in which Lennon is finally told the story of why he was raised by his aunt.


†††† A workman-like trailer for the film.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

††††This film has not yet been released on DVD or Blu-ray in Region 1/Region A.


††††A quality drama about the teen life of John Lennon that lets itself down by telling Lennon's story well beyond the point at which the focal part of the film ends.

††††Video and audio quality are good, without being great. The extras are reasonably diverse and worthwhile.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Adam Gould (Totally Biolicious!)
Monday, June 21, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony Playstation 3, using HDMI output
DisplayOptoma HD20 Projector. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderPioneer VSX2016AVS. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.
AmplificationPioneer VSX2016AVS
Speakers150W DTX front speakers, 100W centre and 4 surround/rear speakers, 12 inch PSB Image 6i powered sub

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