Robert Downey Jr is Esquire's cover star this month; and approximately a million times better a cover star for a mens' magazine than, just for instance, Simon Cowell. Downey has had an incredible Hollywood comeback from a low, low ebb. Like Sean Penn he's an alumnus of Santa Monica High School, and the two men are friendly, as Penn tends to be with most of the really brilliant American actors. Back in that extended narcotic blue period Downey said of Sean, ‘I remember him saying three or four years ago, “You have two reputations. I think you know what both of them are, and I think you’d do well to get rid of one of those reputations. If you don’t, it will get rid of the other one . . .”’ Well, the other one turns out to have outlasted the first; Sean is one of those Friends of Robert who aided that process.
My film column this month is about Sam Taylor-Wood's absolutely glorious Nowhere Boy, of which I say it 'is probably a softer-edged piece than the facts of this case would suggest, for it offers us a certain closure; whereas the real Lennon (who, aged 30, wept through primal therapy with Arthur Janov, then wrote the anguished ‘Mother’) clearly took longer to find his peace. Movies, though, are more like myths than analyses, and they have a duty to get us to catharsis in a shorter time-span. Certainly I sobbed throughout the last reel of Nowhere Boy. Bouquets, then, to Taylor-Wood, her cast and crew (not least the brilliant cinematographer Seamus McGarvey) for a lovely, lyrical picture that flows – one should say ‘swings’ – just as bitter-sweetly as the rock ‘n’ roll that Lennon and friends invented.'