Sunday, April 03, 2011
I feel like I say things are "boring" a lot, which makes me sound like...I don't know, someone who hates talking and likes Michael Bay? Both those things couldn't be further from the truth. But, yeah, I found Nowhere Boy pretty darn boring. To be fair, I watched it in a hotel room while stuffing conference registration packets, but I don't see how it would have been less dull without that distraction.
It does that biopic thing that I hate: relying on the audience's knowledge of the future to make events out of otherwise ordinary moments. John gets his first guitar, John's aunt hounds him about wearing his glasses, John's mother teaches him "Maggie Mae." None of these things are actually at all interesting if you don't know that John is John Lennon. And not really even then. Turns out the formation of the Beatles (which the movie isn't actually about at all, but it happens during it) is no more exciting than any other group of teenagers starting a band. Unless, as I said, you know what they'll become. Even the title is a bit of a marketing tease, having nothing to do with the story or with "Nowhere Man."
About halfway through, the central drama of his relationship with his mother kicks in, and there was one scene that I thought was pretty fabulous, but then it went right past that into soapy melodrama. And sometimes real life is melodramatic, but that doesn't mean I want to watch it.
All of these criticisms are pretty much with the script. The cast is appealing, the acting is excellent, and the film is beautifully shot, with a great sense of time and place. It is unquestionably well made. But when "Mother" played over the closing credits, I was grateful both to hearing the real John's voice, and that the movie was over.