2019 / TV

SF elements: alternate history


Jack Malik is a struggling musician, not very good at writing songs, not very good at singing, playing to tiny audiences, and about to give up. But after an unexplained 12 second global power cut, he discovers he is the only person who has heard of the Beatles. Fame and fortune await as he starts singing their songs. But he stands to lose his opportunity for love.

This is fun to watch, with some good gags and, of course, great music. I like the fact that Malik has to struggle to remember all the lyrics. And I especially like how he sounds better as a singer as he gets better production and backing.

It’s an alternate history. But is it science fiction? I would say no: the central premise is there just as a hook for a rom com “love is better than fame” plot (or actually, “love is better than undeserved fame”), and is barely explored further. Apart from the nice Oasis gag, and a short scene with an alternately famous person, the premise is not explored or exploited at all. If this were science fiction, the plot would probably include searching for the departure point, finding out what else had changed, discovering why it had happened, and maybe returning to the original timeline. None of that happens here. In fact, essentially nothing major has changed, despite the fact that one of few the differences is no cigarettes (or Coca Cola). No cigarettes? So wouldn’t all those people who died from lung cancer still be alive? No Beatles, but no changes to people’s lives, or to the music scene (except for that one band)? In fact, one person who died in our timeline is shown alive in the new one, but there are no other repercussions? So I don’t count it as science fiction; maybe science fiction-adjacent.

Be that as it may, it’s a fun film, and, as I said, great music.

Rating: 3

[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 10 July 2021