There are other music acts who scored numerous hits. But the universal appeal and immense cultural impact of The Beatles’ catalogue is unmatched, making the plot of director Danny Boyle’s Yesterday one perfectly fit for it.
The film, for all its hype and humor, underscores that a world without The Beatles is unimaginable and can only happen in a fictional world it presents. Unlike other mainstream movies showcasing the songs recorded by John, Paul, George, and Ringo, it’s one that intently highlights in a cute twist the incomparable songwriting the Fab Four unleashed during the 1960s.
The British romantic comedy centers on struggling musician Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) and what happens to him after a fateful bus accident that knocks off his teeth. You don’t have to worry about his dental dilemma since it’s quickly overshadowed by his discovery that he is the only one who knows The Beatles and more importantly, their songs.
Well, that’s like being the character in Back To The Future Part II who realizes he has in his hands the results to sporting events bettors try to predict.
But Malik is naturally a good soul dodging life’s bitter truth with his true love in Ellie Appleton (Lily James) that he immediately makes you root for him. So much so that you hope he forever gets away with his fortune because he simply deserves it.
The presence of funny, direct-to-point Debra Hammer (Kate McKinnon) as opportunist artist-manager and real-life hitmaker Ed Sheeran, who appears adorable in making fun of his own lofty stature opposite the seamless beauty of Beatles music, give the film extra kicks which emphasize further the healing power of melodies like “In My Life,” “Let It Be,” “The Long and Winding Road,” and the titular song.
I had the privilege to see the movie gala premiere held at Gateway Cineplex (ATMOS Cinema 5) in Araneta Center last July 11, or almost two weeks before it hits local theaters on July 24. It was amusing to see millennials and Gen Zs watch it. Being a self-proclaimed Beatleogist, I hope the movie really gives birth to a new breed of Filipino Beatles fans, much as Steve O Neal’s Beatles Forever show in the 90s molded guys from Gen X like me who repeatedly saw old Beatles clips aired via a local TV network test broadcast.
Take away their idol looks and remarkable personalities, The Beatles is collectively a foursome who delivered exceptionally brilliant songwriting and performance from the opening harmonica riff of Love Me Do to the fadeout of Real Love—their second and last reunion recording.
At first I was a bit uncomfortable the movie’s title is taken from a Beatles classic with only McCartney on it. But my wife Kaye, a person with in-depth take of The Beatles rare among women I know, told me that history is “nothing but a collection of yesterdays.” Oh I believe.
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