John Lennon film brings London festival to an end

Thu Oct 29, 2009 9:25am EDT
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By Mike Collett-White

LONDON (Reuters) - The London film festival closes on Thursday with the world premiere of "Nowhere Boy," about John Lennon's rebellious teenage years and his torrid relationship with his aunt and mother before the Beatles were formed.

The directorial debut of video artist Sam Taylor-Wood, the movie stars Aaron Johnson as an angry, confused Lennon who struggles to understand why his mother Julia left him with his aunt Mimi when he was a small boy.

The film plays on the contrast between his "buttoned-up," straight-laced aunt, played by Kristin Scott Thomas, and his fun-loving mother (Anne-Marie Duff) who encourages him to listen to rock'n'roll and teaches him the banjo.

Asked how reliable her account of the star's troubled youth was, Taylor-Wood told BBC Radio:

"There are often versions of truth. Maybe if you'd spoken to Mimi she'd have had one version and Julia, his mother, would have had another version. So as much as possible I think it's pretty close."

She also confessed that tackling a subject as revered as Lennon in her first feature film was daunting.

"I think I went into it fairly naively," said the 42-year-old.

"It wasn't really until I spent a lot of time in Liverpool and walking around that it started to dawn on me the magnitude of the subject matter I'd taken on. And there were moments when I thought, 'I just can't handle this, this is too big.'"   Continued...