Friday, July 5, 2019


Iterating the premise of Danny Boyle’s Yesterday is almost like blowing out a candle. That’s part of the problem. The movie is predicated on the notion of a world without The Beatles and incidentally Coke and Harry Potter. At one point the film’s protagonist Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) Googles Coke and gets Pablo Escobar and his job as a songwriter who's mysteriously wafted to an alternate dimension is simply to remember rather than to create. So he journeys to Strawberry Fields (in Liverpool) and Eleanor Rigby’s gravesite as a form of research. From a narrative point of the view, the moviegoer is supposed to accept the notion that you can introduce the great songs of the iconic foursome into an alternate universe in which they're embraced only to be magically dismissed, erased and finally disappear from the collective consciousness of the cheering crowds the film depicts. Strangely one of the most interesting lines of the film is uttered by a record label executive who intones “if you don’t have an image the lack of an image becomes the image.” Yesterday is basically a one-line joke, but the subtext has to do with impersonation, counterfeiting and ultimately lying. The curse of “the chalice of money” and fame which Jack chooses is ultimately broken when he visits the aging John Lennon (Robert Carlyle) who never became famous and end up taking to heart another Beatles song “All You Need Is Love.” Yesterday is a little like Rocketman, the Elton John, hagiography. A somewhat narrow premise becomes the occasion to enjoy classics including “Let it Be” and “Back in the U.S.S.R." which both comprise the film’s playlist. 

N.B.: read Francis Levy's short story, "Pet Buddha"in Vol. 1 Brooklyn. 

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