Okay, we’re not talking family or friends here. We’re talking about the other things that, well, make your world go round. Things that rock your world. Things that, whenever you encounter them, bring a world of joy to your heart and make the blood in your veins sing.
Pencils down. What did you come up? Me, I’m going with the Beatles.
If you agree (or even if the lads from Liverpool weren’t on your list), the movie Yesterday will certainly up the joy factor in your life. Way, way up.
The movie’s premise is extraordinary — a world in which the Beatles never existed except within the memory of one person. A young singer / songwriter is the only person on earth who remembers them, and, upon coming to that realization, performs their music for the entire world to hear, passing it off as his own. (Any more detail would require a spoiler alert, and I’d rather have you keep on reading than have to issue one of those pesky things.)
The bottom line here is the amazing joy that wells up at the sound of the Beatles. In B.’s mind, hearing their music is like reuniting with an old friend. Indeed. And it’s so much more. It’s difficult to describe just how utterly blissful it was to be immersed in those songs — even when performed by someone other than John, Paul, George, and Ringo. The music is just that good.
And whether you heard the songs while they were on the charts, or if you’re hearing them for the first time now (as is the entire world within this movie), you can’t help but love at least some of them. It’s as if the music of the Beatles is part of our collective unconscious for what is beautiful and moving and joyful.
If your past does include the memory of the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show; if the group has been a part of your life from their beginning; if their body of music has followed you from childhood (or older) onward — I swear it’s like feeling your history wash over you again. It’s a wave of emotion that lifts you up. It’s a shimmering sensation of love. It’s gorgeous, fun, revolutionary music that makes you feel like your heart might burst with gratitude.
And, if you’re a baby like me, it leaves you in tears of joy.
If you let the movie work its magic and allow yourself to believe that you and the main character are the only two people who are in on the secret, the only two who remember the significance of all this joy, the feeling is, to quote Roseanne Arquette’s character in Pulp Fiction, “f*****g trippy.”
In this world where happiness is far, far too elusive; at this time that truly tries all of our souls; at this moment when kindness has become much too rare — now is when we need to “get by with a little help from [our] friends.”
Yesterday reminds us that the Beatles were more than a breakthrough musical group. They — and their music — were a gift that embodied a feeling of hope, of love, of possibility. And hearing that music again evokes a feeling of joy that lives on. In all of us.
Let it be.
ⓒ 2019 Claudia Grossman