If you haven’t seen this movie yet, drop everything you’re doing and treat yourself to a couple of hours of magic .
It’s one of the best and most uplifting movies I’ve seen in years. It’s also an incredible tribute to the Beatles. The script is powerful and seems to follow Blake Snyder’s beats in Save the Cat. The story has heart, is funny, sad, triumphant and perfectly illustrates the idea that as human beings, many paths are open to us.
The young protagonist played by Himesh Patel is superb. The friend/love interest, Lily James, is perfectly cast. The… hey, just go see the movie. If you don’t come out of the theater smiling, then I owe you a drink and I want to know why.
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There’s also a neat synchronicity in the movie related to the song Eleanor Rigby. In the movie, Jack Malik, a struggling/failing musician has an accident during a power outage and becomes the only person who can remember the Beatles. So he starts playing their songs and becomes super popular. However, he keeps getting asked what inspired different songs. Since he didn’t write them, that’s a problem.
To rectify the situation, he takes a trip to Liverpool, England—a trip that baffles his new agent— to become familiar with some of the material in the songs. He stops in the Walton section of Liverpool where John Lennon used to live and visits a graveyard where he finds a headstone that mentions Eleanor Rigby.
Of course the context is that Paul McCartney, who wrote Eleanor Rigby, must’ve wandered through this graveyard, saw the name, and decided to make up a song about someone by that name.
But it turns out that’s not true at all, and the existence of that gravestone in Lennon’s childhood part of town is a synchronicity.
I found that out recently when I listened to a video made a few years ago in which McCartney talks about the origins of his songs. I watched it after seeing Yesterday, and was fascinated when he talked about the origins of Eleanor Rigby. He recalled a childhood memory of seeing older women sitting around gossiping. He said he enjoyed listening to them, and decided to write a song about one such person. The name Eleanor came to him right away, but he didn’t know what last name to use until he happened to see a barber shop named Rigby one day. “I knew right away that was the name: Eleanor Rigby.
Years later, he heard about the gravestone. Apparently, a fan had been researching the Beatles, and discovered it. But it was news to him. Recognizing the Twilight Zone-type oddity, he says: “Dee-Dee-Dee-Dee, Dee-Dee, Dee-Dee.”
One other interesting note about the origin of Beatle songs, McCartney says he wrote “Let It Be” after having a vivid dream in which his deceased mother appeared to him. He was having some difficulties in his life, and his mother told him to just “let it be.”
(This 26-minute video would’ve been real helpful for Malik to learn about the origins of many of the songs, but of course it didn’t exist any longer in his reality!)