NOTE: SPOILERS BELOW.
On Wednesday, July 10, 2019, I took the morning off to watch the movie “Yesterday.” When I first had read about the movie online, I felt that it was lame. But the trailer changed my mind.
Overall, I enjoyed seeing the classic Beatles hits in a new context. Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) was a struggling musician who decided to give up. But a freak power outage and wreck made Jack, the only person to remember the Beatles. He worked to remember and re-create the songs. But the music industry and the sudden fame were creating headaches for Jack.
The movie reminded me of Pope John Paul II’s call for a New Evangelization. The Gospel must be reintroduced into a culture that had accepted the Christian message but has fallen away. Here, Jack realized that he had a mission to share those Beatles songs to a world that had forgotten them. But Jack was flummoxed in explaining how he wrote these “new” songs. At one point, he said, “I don’t know. I feel that someone else wrote them.” Proclaiming the Gospel should always point back to Jesus, the source of our salvation. Without Jesus, the Gospel degrades into distortions: Communism, New Age, etc.
The irony is that Christ’s name is spoken often in the film. But it’s used in vain. The film hinted at supernatural causes to the blackout. Before the blackout, Ellie (Lily James), Jack’s longtime friend said that miracles are possible. Jack retorted, “What has God done for me, other that time for my mum?”
Conscience played a huge role to remind Jack the truth in dreams and memories. First, the Beatles must be given credit for those songs. Second, Jack should tell Ellie how he felt about her. A visit to a former Beatle would be the turning point. He advised Jack: “If you want to be happy, tell the woman that you love her and never let her go.”
Two other people also had remembered the Beatles and found Jack to thank him. Jack was ecstatic to share that memory: “It’s like I’m a foreign country and I found someone who speaks English.” When a Christian deep in faith meets another with the same faith, they share something that the rest of the world doesn’t have: Jesus. “Where two or three are gathered, there I am in their midst” (Mt 18:20). A woman told Jack, “The world is a far worse place without the Beatles.” The same could be said about Jesus.
With cunning and courage, Jack publicly declares his love for Ellie and the true origin of those songs. Though he might not have fame and money, Jack and Ellie later wed, had two kids and shared those Beatles songs to schoolkids. Where love exists, there also God manifests himself.