This post is about Yesterday, the movie. IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN IT, DO NOT READ FURTHER.
SPOILERS * SPOILERS * SPOILERS * and more SPOILERS *
I loved this movie. Jack Mallek awakens in a parallel universe where the Beatles never existed. As a frustrated musician in his own failed career, Jack claims to have written and plays the Beatle’s hits as his own and becomes famous as the greatest singer/songwriter in the world.
Burdened by guilt and oblivious to his best friend’s devotion to him, Jack slowly discovers the differences between the two worlds.
Here’s what the movie did right:
- Fresh, interesting concept that could be a lot of fun.
- Jack Mallek is Indian but this is never brought out as a focal point. It just is. Nice example to people with social concerns; don’t make it a thing, just put it out there.
- It’s clean. No swearing, no nudity, no sex, yet works on multiple levels.
- Rising tension presented by two people also from his world who know he’s faking it. We know about them for a long time before they confront Jack – and it’s a complete surprise (or at least not what Jack and I expected).
- The “fun & games” of the movie were Jack’s rise to fame, him trying to remember the lyrics, his guilt, and his dawning realization that he loves Ellie.
- This is billed as a romantic comedy, yet the romantic build is slow simmer rather than a focal point.
- The writer/director understood that Jack needed to think the leap was worth it. He did so in a unique and surprising way. The door opened on someone other than I was expecting!
- To reiterate an important point: Confrontations were telegraphed… we KNEW what was going to happen, yet what took us by surprise wasn’t just a twist, it made more sense than what we were expecting!
- When the romance aspect came to head the first time, timing wasn’t right. Second time, timing wasn’t right, third time timing was right, but it didn’t matter, it was going to happen. The writer skillfully built two parallel story lines that weaved in and out before coming to a satisfying end.
- The means of the parallel world switch was never revealed. So much so that many people think time was rewritten rather than Jack being in a whole other world. Had they explained the workings, it:
A) Would no longer have been a romantic comedy, and
B) No sequel would be necessary.
That’s right, the writer gave himself an opening for a sequel. What is that opening? If Jack is in a parallel universe, then he switched places with that world’s Jack, so that world’s Jack is now on our world. What’s happening to him? What’s wonderfully crazy about this sequel opportunity is that it doesn’t have to be the same genre. It could be something else entirely: sci-fi, suspense, psychological thriller or psychological comedy (more likely).
Response to Yesterday is mostly positive, though the critics think it was too simple, lacked depth, lacked gravitas. Translation, it was too clean.
I think the world needs more clean stories, more clean movies, more clean TV shows. I would love more movies like Yesterday.