If you have ever seen a movie about time travel, you know that changing the past can create alternate timelines with unintended, often catastrophic consequences. Entire nations can be wiped clean. Successful lives can be ruined. People can end up with lizard tongues. And in director Danny Boyle’s new film Yesterday, a strange blackout and a bus accident causes one musician to wake up in a world where The Beatles never existed. That might sound terrible for music lovers, but it’s not a nightmare when he becomes the biggest star in the world singing their songs.
The film stars Himesh Patel as struggling singer-songwriter Jack Malik. As the only person alive who knows about the careers of Paul, John, George, and Ringo, the movie explores what an artist can do with a library of some of the most beloved songs the world has (n)ever heard. In addition to The Beatles’ catalogue of music, the movie also features Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again‘s Lily James as Jack’s childhood friend and unexpected (to him) love interest, Kate McKinnon as his new eager American agent, and Ed Sheeran as Ed Sheeran.
While the movie is described as a feel-good comedy, it does raise the question of how much of a piece of art’s success is inherently connected to the artist who made it. Could anyone be The Beatles if given their songs, or would their music not be the same?
On a less serious note, we know lots of people like to dunk on Ed Sheeran, but how can you not appreciate him letting the movie make fun of him for his rapping, and for him sincerely suggesting “Hey Jude” would be better as “Hey Dude.” (Not that we wouldn’t listen to that parody about one of Nickelodeon’s best shows ever.) We can’t “Imagine” every musician would be okay with that.
Written by Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually, Notting Hill), Yesterday does not yet have a release date, but it’s definitely not tomorrow.
Featured Image: Universal Pictures