Oct. 9 marks what would have been John Lennon’s 70th birthday. There are a number of tributes and reissues planned, but perhaps the most insightful is “Nowhere Boy,” a British film that examines two extremely pivotal years in the future Beatle’s life.

In the movie, helmed by first-time director Sam Taylor-Wood, we see Lennon from the ages of 15 to 17. At the start of the film, he is living in Liverpool with his aunt, Mimi, and uncle, George, who have raised him since the age of 5. A tragic event reunites him with his mother, Julia. She is the exact opposite of her sister, the strict, stoic Julia.  She is a flighty dreamer who teaches a young Lennon how to play banjo, which leads him to guitar, which leads him to start the Quarryman, which leads him to Paul McCartney. You get the idea.

Aaron Johnson, best known stateside for his role in “Kick-Ass,” does a remarkable job as a young Lennon. He nails his accent and mannerisms, but artfully dodges the line between portrayal and imitation.  The movie is a must-see for Beatles fans.  

Check out my interview with Johnson, Taylor-Wood and a clip from the film embedded below.

"Nowhere Boy" is now playing in limited release.