She saw something in him — something extraordinary, something worthy of her deepest love. So she became friends with him, helped him any way she could — drove him around, helped manage his failing music career, and was a constant source of encouragement. He appreciated her and loved spending time with her, but he was a bit of a blockhead. Jack Malik couldn’t see that Ellie loved him, and his own feelings were muddled and disoriented.
She waited, hoping that a mutual love would naturally occur. It didn’t. Then the world shut down for 12 seconds and rebooted without the Beatles, Coke, Cigarettes, or Harry Potter. Jack managed to get hit by a bus during the shutdown but survived minus a couple of teeth. She was the first one waiting for him at the hospital. Her love is so apparent, but Jack doesn’t see it.
Jack is the only one in the world it seems who knows about the Beatles. He sees the opportunity and goes for it. Jack begins writing and singing all of these creative “new songs”. Overnight, he becomes a sensation. Ellie is sure that her slim chance of finding lasting love with Jack is over now that he has drunk the “dark chalice of fame, riches, and power.”
Just before Jack heads to L.A., Ellie finally speaks her heart. “What did I do to get stuck in the friend column?” she asks, her heartbroken. Jack is shocked; it never occurred to him that his best friend was anything more than just that. Confused and distracted, he rushes off into the whirlwind of fame and fortune.
A few weeks later, she hears that Jack will be in Liverpool (trying desperately to remember Beatles lyrics). She drops everything and drives 300 kilometers to see him. Jack, who is disgusted with the pressures of fame, is delighted to see his childhood friend. They have loads of fun together. Late at night, they end up back at Jacks’s hotel room.
Jack is finally awakening to his own love for Ellie. They embrace romantically for the first time. He desires her sexually. Why not make love with him? Wouldn’t the bond of sexual intercourse help Ellie get the true love she wants from Jack?
No, it won’t. Ellie wants Jack so badly at that moment, but yet she pulls away. She won’t use sex as a manipulative tool, nor will she cheapen the sacredness of intimacy with the man she loves. A mutual commitment must come first in her mind.
“No, Jack, this will be a one-night stand, and I don’t want to be the girl in that column.”
“But it’s not a one-night stand,” Jack protests.
“Where are you going tomorrow?”
“It is the definition of a one-night stand!. Unless you are willing to cancel your plans and stay here with me.”
He is unwilling to do that, so out the door, she goes.
His misery builds. He loves Ellie. She is more important than anything, and yet he has failed to commit to her. He is also living a lie. He is not a great songwriter. He is pirating songs from the greatest band of all time that somehow disappeared from human history.
Finally, he gets clarity from a 78-year-old retired sailor named John Lennon. Jack knows what he must do. At Wembley Stadium, in front of a standing-room-only crowd, he comes clean. Jack tells the audience that he is a fraud and apologizes for his piracy. On the spot, he uploads all the Beatles songs for free to the world. He then pledges his undying love to Ellie in front of the world. In the chaos that follows, he escapes with his girl. In the movie’s closing moments, we see Jack and Ellie growing old together, loving their kids well and singing lots of Beatles songs.
I loved this movie:
- I loved how Ellie didn’t try to force love and wouldn’t give herself away sexually without the promise of commitment first. Commitment before sex seems so unrealistic in our world today, but at the same time, on the screen before me, Ellie’s convictions felt fitting and beautiful and the way things should be.
- I love how the movie portrayed what matters in life — deep abiding friendship, gentleness, hope, laughter, honesty and family. The world of marketing, fame, money, branding, and image was presented as the soul-sucking monster that it is.
- I love how Ellie, though burdened with unfulfilled desire, was patient. She continued to enjoy life, laughed often, and carried on doing good in the world, even though she could not get what she wanted for over a decade.