p18wri My Review of the Movie "Yesterday"
by John Taylor; 2019 Jul 15
Our neighbour's prolific mulberry tree overhangs our back yard, raining down a shower of mulberries on the back part of our lawn. The standard way of harvesting mulberries is to lay down a sheet and shake the berries out of the tree. There were some old fibreglass sheets lying by our house that I had never found a use for, so I laid them under the tree and forgot about them until finally I collected the mulberries that had fallen on them all up in a 5 gallon bucket. More mulberries than I could handle all at once. They filled the sink but they stank because some lain long enough to ferment. So, having no use for mulberry wine, I had to mulch the whole lot.
By that time I was exhausted from this and other garden puttering, so I decided that this week I would pass on the weed and feed, where you work as a volunteer farm hand at Shared Harvest Farm for three hours for a vegetarian meal in exchange. The alternative for me was "welfare night" (Tuesdays are half price) at the Welland Cineplex. As always, it features two kid's movies, two teen comic book films, two teen horrors and one film for adults, and by adult I mean that I was the youngest person there. Everybody was either a senior, like me, or a senior senior, all old enough to remember when the Beatles were in their prime.
That, the Beatles, was the subject of the film in question, "Yesterday." It asked the question, "What would it be like if you, a failed, unpopular musician, entered a time warp where the Beatles never got together and only you and a couple of others, non-musicians, remembered their songs?" The musician tries to remember the Beatles opus, and the Beatles songs he purports to write are met with the adoration they deserve. The story goes on as you might expect a romantic story to play out.
The male lead does a creditable job of reproducing the all but universally forgotten songs of the Beatles, but he is almost too convincingly impervious to the charms of the female lead. It is one of the most difficult challenges in acting, I think, to play her role, because you have to make the whole audience fall in love with you in only a few minutes. Many, if not most, actresses in that demanding role fail miserably, or succeed with only part of the audience. In this case, she succeeds brilliantly and for that reason the whole movie works, its lesser flaws you want to forgive and forget.
The climax of the movie comes when the male lead, guided by the research of the two others who remember the Beatles, seeks out and meets the "troubled Beatle," who, he finds, has lived a long and fulfilled life. For that reason, the Beatles apparently never got together. Art demands blood and pain from its servants. From his point of view, he was much better off without the Fab Four ever coming about.
After the movie was over, I got into the car and turned on the radio, which was still tuned to the station to which I always gravitate, CBC French. They were playing a lovely violin concerto and I fell to wondering what would happen if that piece had never been written. We would get along, I guess, but the world is definitely richer for having it on the airwaves. I am no music fan and I disliked most popular songs, even many Beatles songs, when they first came out, and I still dislike most of it. That is why I prefer CBC French, because I am a neophile and given a choice prefer to hear music that I have never encountered before. The English music that dominates the radio dial is narrow in scope, packed with old music that, as I say, may be nostalgic but I did not particularly like it, even when it was new. But CBC French rarely disappoints with its old and new material.
My thoughts turned to my own writing career, such as it may have been. As an artist, maybe I am like that Beatle who never found the Beatles, and was better off for it.