Any Beatle fan can tell you John Lennon had a troubled youth, which contributed to a lot of his song lyrics in the Beatles and his solo career. This wonderful film captures the young Lennon, his relationships with the woman who raised him, Mimi; his birth mother, Julia, and also his first fateful meetings with Paul McCartney and George Harrison.
This film had the potential to be filled with Beatle cliches and references but instead concentrates on the young Lennon, as he tries to figure out his family’s odd relationships. In the entire film, I only saw a couple references to Beatles songs. Aaron Johnson plays the young Lennon with a dead on performance, as does Kristin Scott Thomas as his aunt Mimi. Julia is played with great feeing by Anne-Marie Duff.
The story line is interesting as Lennon attends and gets suspended from school, discovers sex with a school girl, gets introduced to rock and roll by his mother, who also teaches him how to play the banjo, forms a skiffle band (The Quarrymen), adds in Paul and George, and tries to find out why he was raised by his aunt, instead of his mother.
The dvd has a great picture, nice and sharp, with subtle coloring. The sound is Dolby 5.1 surround. Extras on the single dvd include a few deleted sscenes, a 7 minute “making of feature” and a discussion with the film’s director, a Beatle historian, and Yoko Ono.
This is a great film with excellent performances, sharp directions, and a totally immersive story. You owe it to yourself to get this dvd even if you are not a Beatles fan. While being a fan helps, this is film that is great on its own merit, receiving a number of British Academy Awards. One of last year’s best.