A charming film that was just about everything I wanted it to be, Yesterday is the feel-good hit of the summer.
Imagine a world without the Beatles. Well, that is exactly what struggling musician Jack Malik experiences after a bus collision during a global power outage. Discovering he is the only person left who remembers John, Paul, George, and Ringo, Jack is left sitting on a collection of hits he can claim as his own to launch his career into stardom. Now, how does that song go again?
Yesterday benefits from being an extremely likable film and will put a smile on your face, and while some of that is from screenwriter Richard Curtis’ sentiment, the actors also deserve a lot of credit. He’s no Paul McCartney, but Himesh Patel does a fine job replicating the work of four musical legends mostly on his own. Patel plays humble and as someone who is passionate about music, and what I like most about his character is he never falls victim to his own ego as is cliche with these kind of films. I’d call his performance a breakout, but time will tell if he receives more attention from Hollywood. Lily James also is cute and will pull at your heart strings. If you’re an Ed Sheeran fan, he plays a moderate role in the film and I like how he added to the film without detracting attention from the work of The Beatles. Kate McKinnon takes a horatian-satirical approach to her role as Malik’s manager, ridiculing greed and objectification of artists in the music industry.
Throughout Yesterday, there are moments you expect to happen and patiently wait for, only for them never to happen, while there are also unexpected moments which cancel out any negligible amount of disappointment you may have – someone makes a surprise cameo in the film and I won’t spoil whom, but I don’t think you’ll be able to guess either; regardless, they were a pleasant surprise and one of my favorite parts of the whole movie. The cinematographer does get a little fancy at times, with there being some questionable camera shots – but this is more a small nitpick. The film is also more of a romance than expected, but who doesn’t like a good romance story? I wish more of the Beatles songs were played to their entirety, or more were showcased in general, but then again, the Beatles produced hundreds of songs and you can only fit so many in a two hour runtime. Yesterday doesn’t dig into its unique concept as deeply as it could’ve, but by remaining simple is able to be fun and focused.
It’s a strong, fictional ode to The Beatles, has a romance story that belongs in a summer-version of Love Actually, and did I mention Ed Sheeran? Yesterday? More like see this film today, while it’s still in theaters. 8/10