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Film Reviews: Nowhere Boy, Almost Famous

Nathan Westfall
The Broadside

Nowhere Boy

Anne-Marie Duff (left) and Kristin Scott Thomas (Right) in the film Nowhere Boy

John Lennon wrote and composed some of the most profound music of the past century. As the founding member of the greatest rock group in history, “The Beatles”,his songs have changed lives and inspired millions on a global scale for decades. After many years of listening to Lennon’s words, and contemplating the source of his genius, Sam Taylor-Wood’s “Nowhere Boy” finally sheds some light on how his great talent came to be.
“Nowhere Boy” is the story of Lennon’s formative years. As the viewers are taken through the aspects of Lennon’s early life, they are shown how his tumultuous upbringing plays an integral role in the genesis of his musical career. The film particularly focuses on the relationship that he builds with his estranged mother. As Lennon grows ever-closer to his mother, he detaches from society and surrounds himself with the fantasy world of rock music and the carefree lifestyle she lives in. These experiences will leave Lennon with experiences of immense joy and heartbreaking pain that follow him through the rest of his life.
Any lover of John Lennon, his music, or the music of “The Beatles” will be enthralled with this film. It’s fictionalised portrayal of Lennon’s early life feels almost like a documentary due to the extensive amount of background research and will appeal to both critical fans or those with litte knowledge of “The Beatles”.  Being able to experience, through the magic of film, the events that formed one of the most influential men in history is nothing short of inspiring. It brings to mind the question that every fan has asked of a celebrity that has passed on: “what if he were still here today?”

Almost Famous

Why does someone get into journalism? On the hope that they will one day be able to devote their life to being a fan of what they write about. That is the perception that is gained from watch Cameron Crowe’s “Almost Famous”.
“Almost Famous” centers around the story of a young William Miller (Patrick Fugit) and his time spent covering the band Stillwater for

Rolling Stone Magazine. Miller is noticed by Rolling Stone and given the opportunity to write a cover story for the magazine after a series of fortunate events that land him backstage for a concert where Stillwater is playing. As the story progresses, Miller gets closer to the band and is forced to make decisions on how the band is portrayed in his article. He must choose between an honest portrayal that will demean his new group of friends or a padded version that makes the band seem above all others and without flaws.

Cameron Crowe is able to truly convey an amazing story with this film. The script, based on his actual experiences as a young Rolling

Stone reporter, shows the audience all of the hardships and difficulty that comes along with dealing with a group of stars. From the parties and drugs to the everyday band fights, Miller’s ability to act as a mediator and friend makes him just as much a member of the band as the lead singer or guitarist.

With a mixture of an all-star cast and an extensive emphasis on the little details within the film, “Almost Famous” is considered to be one of the finest period pieces of the last decade. Crowe’s ability to take his personal experiences and turn it into a film that captures the 70’s rock scene like a photograph is what makes him a great director. His films are not typical Hollywood stories, but viewing windows into a time period in popular culture.

You may contact Nathan Westfall at nathanwestfall@gmail.com

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