If you’re reading this right now you probably fall into one of two groups. Either this is the first time you’ve heard of director Danny Boyle’s “Yesterday” and have no idea what it’s about, or you’re grinning from ear to ear right now because even if you haven’t heard of it you recognize that crosswalk and you know this film has one hell of a soundtrack.
For the sake of that first group (and part of the second), here’s a quick synopsis. Jack Malik (Himesh Patel), a struggling musician, becomes an overnight sensation when the rest of the world forgets the Beatles. It’s a bonkers and bizarre idea for a film and it’s completely wonderful. Add in Ed Sheeran as himself and Lily James as an “average” school teacher/manager and you’ve got a heartwarming story about success, love, and some of the most iconic songs of all time.
It’s a film that’s easy to love with all the warm and fuzzy feelings you’d expect to come with the entire song catalogue of the Beatles. Watching the world fall in love with the Fab Four’s music for the first time and all over again is pure magic.
The size of the film is something that stuck with me. Considering the largeness of the Beatles and their fandom, the film feels quite small in a good way. Even with sold out concerts in the likes of Wembley, “Yesterday” always feels like an intimate affair. There’s a familiarity that I think can be attributed to the music.
“Yesterday” is after all about the music, not just the Beatles but all music and the way it shapes and impacts our lives. Whether you play it, write it, or just listen, music has power. It can confuse, heal, apologize, try to explain, and convey just about anything else.
This film is centered around the Beatles, so I will give them at least a few words of praise. Their songs are transcendent, which is why they were the perfect choice for this film. A world without their simple but powerful songs, well, it’s not a world I would want to live in.
And their songs, most of them anyway, are simple. I mean, one of their most iconic songs uses five words for 75 percent of the lyrics — All You Need Is Love. That’s not a slight or insult. It’s a compliment of the highest order. Summing up human emotion in just a few words, in such a universally relatable way, that’s the writing dream.
You may have caught on to the fact that “Yesterday” is not a blockbuster, by any definition. Yet, here it is, right in the middle of the 2WC’s summer of blockbusters. While I’d argue it has the pop, flash, and heart of any and all of this summer’s adrenaline-fueled fare, that’s not why I decided to include it. It’s here as a reminder, to myself and possibly to you too, to take a beat with the Beatles (or whatever your jam is), stop overthinking and, at least for a moment, let it be.
…just for fun: