The story is set in Liverpool in the 1950s. A young John (Aaron Johnson) is being raised by Aunt Mimi (Kristin Scott Thomas). She epitomises the prim and proper upbringing of the lady of the house. Meanwhile, John's biological mother, Julia (Anne-Marie Duff), who's been absent from his life, begins to nurture John's passion for music.
Both women love him dearly, but their values and circumstances pull him in opposing directions.
What Johnson lacks in physical resemblance to Lennon, he more than makes up for with his acting. (Just for the record, he's more handsome.) Dorky Thomas Brodie Sangster is equally admirable as a young Paul McCartney.
Julia is cast in an unflattering light, so it's not hard for viewers to choose sides and blame her for Lennon's early troubles. In that sense, Nowhere Boy lacks depth.
Viewers who know of Lennon's early life won't find much that is new as the tension between Lennon, Julia and Aunt Mimi gradually builds to a climax. Yet Nowhere Boy does show us how Lennon overcame family troubles and emotional turbulence to become an iconic musician.