Nowhere Special Review

I remember once seeing a quote saying that the hardest thing about being a parent is not being around to see how your child’s life turns out. It’s a morbid thought to have but sadly it is a reality. Nowhere Special shows us the sad reality of terminally ill John as he is trying to find a good family to raise his young son, Michael.

In the movie, we are introduced to John, played magnificently by James Norton. John is a window washer and spends his days driving around cleaning windows for businesses and family homes. At night he comes home to his son Michael, the adorable Daniel Lamont, who is watched by a family friend and spends his nights reading with him and eating dinner. Not much is talked about Michael’s mother but we do know that she left shortly after he was born. John’s sickness is never really discussed either. We know he has a certain type of cancer but it is never talked about in full detail.


Knowing that he will not be around for his son, John is getting help through an agency interviewing potential parents for Michael. Throughout the movie, we see some of these interviews and are introduced to different types of families. Although John and Michael are not the typical nuclear family, through these interviews we see that all the families are different and can offer something unique for Michael. One family is well-off and talks about sending Michael to boarding school once he is of age. Another family has multiple kids from previous adoptions and feels that they will have a good spot for Michael in their home. One couple is very stern about what can and can not be done and a sad but funny moment happens with them involving a stuffed rabbit.


Nowhere Special does a great job of showing us these different families because it helps put us into the mind of John and try to figure out who he should choose for Michael. We all think we know what is right for him, but John knows that this decision will change Michael’s life. The movie does not shy away from showing the pain John is going through near the end of the movie and making a care box for his son. Nowhere Special stops short of going too far with John’s illness but gives us enough to feel satisfied with how it concludes.

Final Thoughts: Nowhere Special pulls on your heartstrings as you follow John on his journey to finding a suitable family for his son. While the pace of the movie is rather slow, it is perfect for showing the relationship between father and son. The little moments between father and son are so special that it might make you hug your children closer by the end of the movie. James Norton is fantastic in this role and makes you feel all of his pain as you go with him on this sad journey.

Kid-Friendly: The movie deals with the subject of a dying parent and might upset younger viewers. As with most parents, John wants to shield his young son from the concept of death. If this is a concept that you have not talked about with your kids, you might want to watch this first.

Violence: There is nothing violent in the movie. We do see John getting upset about his situation and kicking his car a few times.

John, a 35-year-old window cleaner, has dedicated his life to bringing up his 4-year-old son, Michael, after the child’s mother left them soon after giving birth. When John is given only a few months left to live, he attempts to find a new, perfect family for Michael, determined to shield him from the terrible reality of the situation. Although initially certain of what he is looking for in the perfect family, John gradually abandons his early convictions, overwhelmed by doubts on the decision. How can he judge a family from a brief encounter? And does he know his own child well enough to make this choice for him? As John struggles to find the right answer to his impossible task, he comes to accept the help of a young social worker, opening himself to solutions he would never have considered. And he finally comes to accept his anger at the injustice of his destiny, the need to share the truth with his son, and to follow the child’s instincts on the biggest decision of their lives.

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