'Nowhere Boy' Critic Reviews

89%
MovieWeb:   3 reviews
79%
Rotten Tomatoes:   141 reviews
  • Owen Gleiberman Entertainment Weekly (Top Critic)
    84
    The power of Nowhere Boy is that, as directed by Sam Taylor-Wood, it captures how John Lennon's deeply sordid family life toyed with his soul by not letting him know who he was.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Manohla Dargis New York Times (Top Critic)
    60
    It's a pleasant-enough creation story to revisit, one weighted down by melodrama and lifted up by some rocking tunes.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Peter Bradshaw Guardian [UK] (Top Critic)
    60
    A handsome film made with real flair.
    Full Review » 5 years ago
  • Claudia Puig USA Today (Top Critic)
    88
    Director Sam Taylor-Wood weaves this tale with elegance, spot-on costumes and production design, and finely tuned casting.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Ann Hornaday Washington Post (Top Critic)
    50
    The movie succumbs to maudlin sentiment and melodrama that Lennon himself might have dismissed with one of his signature cutting remarks.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Ty Burr Boston Globe (Top Critic)
    63
    As sympathetic and well-turned as it is, Nowhere Boy only gives us more mythology.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Eric Hynes Village Voice (Top Critic)
    Taylor-Woods debut feature is a rote coming-of-age tableau that churns through stations of anger, inspiration, reconciliation, McCartney, and Harrison.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Joe Morgenstern Wall Street Journal (Top Critic)
    The creative process is almost audible in a silent moment when John turns an adoring gaze on the curvaceous body of his first guitar.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Chris Vognar Dallas Morning News (Top Critic)
    90
    It relishes its myth-making enterprise without getting too cute about it.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Anthony Lane New Yorker (Top Critic)
    Taylor-Wood has specialized in video installations and off-kilter portraits, and it was tempting to hope that her take on Lennon would unsettle and provoke. Instead, she stays resolutely on-kilter, as if awed into numbness by her subject.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Roger Ebert Chicago Sun-Times (Top Critic)
    88
    We reflect that even if all you need is love, that isn't always all you get.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • J. R. Jones Chicago Reader (Top Critic)
    The events chronicled are all longstanding Beatles legends, though director Sam Taylor-Wood manages to stage even the most portentous moments without making you feel a celestial choir is in order.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Carrie Rickey Philadelphia Inquirer (Top Critic)
    75
    Taylor-Wood captures the sounds and textures of Liverpool and Blackpool, where a new beat is playing in the cafes and clubs.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Steven Rea Philadelphia Inquirer (Top Critic)
    75
    Taylor-Wood stresses the universals rather than the specifics of John's youth. So don't go expecting a Fab Four origin story. The word Beatles is never uttered. But do go.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Colin Covert Minneapolis Star Tribune (Top Critic)
    38
    A Great Man biography gone comically wrong.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Tom Long Detroit News (Top Critic)
    67
    More love triangle than musical, the effective and often sweet Nowhere Boy offers a sense of the time and tension that produced John Lennon.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Bill Goodykoontz Arizona Republic (Top Critic)
    90
    Although he doesn't look much like Lennon, Johnson captures that essence perfectly; the future icon is here a confused, hurt boy.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Leslie Felperin Variety (Top Critic)
    Full Review » 2 years ago
  • Kyle Smith New York Post (Top Critic)
    88
    Nowhere Boy gets John's teen years in Liverpool exactly right, and first-time director Sam Taylor-Wood has made an excellent choice in casting Aaron Johnson.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Roger Moore Orlando Sentinel (Top Critic)
    75
    If you've seen read or seen the Beatles history in literature or film, you'll adore Nowhere Boy for filling in more blank spaces about the early life that formed one of the seminal figures in rock history.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Stephen Cole Globe and Mail (Top Critic)
    75
    This portrait of a Beatle as a young man also gives filmmaker Sam Taylor-Wood, working on a thoughtful script by Matt Greenhalgh, creative room to manoeuvre, introducing us to John just as he and rock 'n' roll discover one another.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Andrew O'Hehir Salon.com (Top Critic)
    Rather than a rock 'n' roll biopic, this is a classic British family melodrama, anchored by one of the subtlest, richest roles in Kristin Scott Thomas' impressive career.
    Full Review » 5 years ago
  • Dana Stevens Slate (Top Critic)
    The story of Lennon's early years is dramatic and painful enough to survive an imperfect retelling, even if you're already familiar with the stations of the cross.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Richard Corliss TIME Magazine (Top Critic)
    The reason to see Nowhere Boy is the charismatic Johnson, who effortlessly nails Lennon's strut, anger and sensitivity. Anybody seeing the movie could surely spot a star in the making.
    Full Review » 4 years ago
  • Peter Travers Rolling Stone (Top Critic)
    75
    Nowhere Boy is smart enough not to spell it all out. You can hear it in Lennon's music, which plays in your head as the movie works its subtle magic.
    Full Review » 4 years ago