It’s a chocolate egg of a film: sweet and satisfying enough to distract you from the fact it’s completely hollow inside. – Clarisse Loughrey
A sentence to perfectly describe the emptiness felt for 2 hours long watching the rom-com film Yesterday.
Directed by Danny Boyle and written by Richard Curtis, starring Himesh Patel as the hopeless-loveable struggling musician Jack Malik and Lily James as his bestfriend and manager Ellie who is probably in love with him. The story takes off when Jack got hit by a bus during a global blackout that lasts for 12 seconds which somehow changes history — The Beatles never existed.
What seems to be stacks of bad luck on Jack turns otherwise. With him being the only person to remember the existence of the legend, he is able to change the world on his own, to reach his dream of becoming a successful singer and songwriter.
Watching through the film a few times sparked so many curiosities:
What would the world be without The Beatles? Does fame outstand the quality of music? What draws the line between inspiration and plagiarism? And ultimately, what was the actual purpose of the story?
It is disappointing for none of the question were answered yet it intrigues the mind to think beyond the visual. However, of personal opinion, it is surprising that the film is able to lose its initial purpose – when it is actually unclear from the start.
This may be due to the questionable narrative development in which others might pass it off as the rom-com factor. The story pans out a bit straightforward, not giving much room for expectations and leaving few impact to the audience besides the thought of the world without The Beatles. What started as Jack’s journey and struggles to be a successful musician turns the opposite direction as the film gets caught up in the development of Jack and Ellie’s relationship.
Moreover, the sequences of Jack enjoying his time in the limelight might be overly stretched causing the ending to be rushed. Nevertheless, props for the idea of using the lyrics of songs such as “Summer Song”, “Yesterday” and “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, replacing the script telling of the characters’ unspoken thoughts. Personally, I had hoped for the plagiarism issue to be the main purpose of the film.
However, it is clearly seen that the production intentionally avoided this controversial matter with the sci-fi space-time-reality-consciousness continuum. By having the whole world but Jack and other few people not having a clue of the band-
Jack’s action of writing the songs based on his own memories might be considered simply as taking an inspiration. If it is otherwise, people would not spare a second to point out that it is plagiarism.
The issue of drawing the line between inspiration and plagiarism needs to be expressed more as it deals with great advantages and disadvantages to creative people. For anyone, having their own creation engraved of hard work getting taken away without being credited is the last thing they ever wanted. However, many people might have the same vision and ways of bringing it to life, which may cause heated debates on who will have their name on the work.
With that, will there be any changes or will it simply stay the same as the past years, obliging to the term “first come first serve”?
Film review by @nisabean
(retrieved from Rabak-Lit’s Twitter, revised)