The true story of John Lennon
's troubled childhood and difficult relationship with his family is brought to the screen in this period drama. Young John (Alex Ambrose) is a bright but sharp-tongued boy living in the coastal town of Liverpool during the 1950s with his aunt Mimi (Kristin Scott Thomas
) and uncle George (David Threlfall
). John's father walked out on the family when he was four years old, and the boy was given to Mimi to raise, even though his mother, Julia (Anne-Marie Duff
), was still alive. While Mimi's straight-laced nature runs counter to John's more reckless personality, they clearly love one another and the household is thrown into chaos when George dies suddenly. At the funeral, teenage John (now played by Aaron Johnson
) sees Julia, and learns to his surprise that she lives only a few blocks away from Mimi. John pays her a visit, and Julia gratefully welcomes him back into her life. Julia's personality is a much closer fit to John than Mimi, and she encourages his love for writing and music, teaching him to play the banjo. However, John's renewed relationship with Julia brings up a number of unanswered questions, and causes new tensions between Mimi and John. And as rock & roll becomes the hot new sound of the day, John falls in love with the bold new music and makes a friend who is interested in forming a band, Paul (Thomas Brodie Sangster). The first feature film from artist-turned-director Sam Taylor-Wood, Nowhere Boy
was the closing night attraction at the 2009 BFI London Film Festival.