Spoilers for the new Beatles-oriented, or rather disoriented, movie can be found throughout this article, including a major spoiler. Don’t say we didn’t warn ya.
When Yesterday hit theaters this weekend, it brought a lot of laughs and plenty of sentimental scenes. It also brought one shocking moment that has both been a talking point and has been divisive among the people who caught the movie over the weekend and at early screenings.
Although the remaining members of The Beatles were allegedly encouraging about the project, Danny Boyle is aware of the divisive reaction to the most major Beatles-oriented scene, as he mentioned in a recent interview, noting,
When we came to test the film, yes, there are some people that don’t like it at all. But other people like it enormously. We call it a ‘Marmite scene’ in Britain. It divides people very clearly.
The scene in question features newly minted musician Jack Malik meeting a couple of other people in the world who still, in fact, remember The Beatles. After a quick conversation in which they give him their blessing, Malik is gifted with an address that leads him down the long and winding road to John Lennon.
Yes, in Yesterday’s universe, John Lennon never became famous, so he was never assassinated in 1980 in New York City by Mark David Chapman. Instead, he grew old and lived a happy life without the trappings of fame. He even gives Jack Malik some advice on what makes life worth living that ends up being important to Malik’s on-screen journey.
Danny Boyle went on to tell USA Today in the recent interview that the actor playing John Lennon, Once Upon A Time’s Robert Carlyle, was the best casting for John Lennon. It wasn’t just because he could capably look like the character either. Per Boyle:
I know the actor – and this wasn’t the reason for casting him – but I also knew that he was a John Lennon fan. He knew more than any of us about John. That was wonderful, because it was a proper reverence and respect, really. The only thing he asked was that he didn’t want a credit... to try and avoid drawing attention to it in any way other than its appearance in the story.
The appearance of John Lennon is not the only big change Yesterday makes to the world as we know it. Along with the lack of The Beatles, major products including Coca-Cola, Harry Potter’s Universe and even cigarettes are gone, poof, vanished into thin air. There's a whole process to what was chosen and why.
It’s an interesting fantastical romp, even if one of the chances the movie takes doesn’t land with everyone. From what it sounds like, your mileage may vary with the movie depending on whether or not you buy the John Lennon moment. That may be the reason for the discrepancy between Yesterday’s critics and audience score, as well. The movie ended up in third place this weekend with a solid enough start, so we'll have to see how it plays with audiences in the weeks to come.
If you haven’t caught the movie yet, first why did you read this? Secondly, you can catch Yesterday in its theatrical run, out right now.