What would you do if you woke up to find your favourite band no longer existed? Would you recreate the songs and sell them off as your own or would you just let it be? What about your favourite book or movie? This interesting scenario is presented in Yesterday when after an accident, Jack wakes up to find nobody knows who The Beatles are. When I first saw the premise of this movie I was instantly intrigued by the dilemma but after seeing the movie I found myself slightly disappointed with the outcome. Yesterday is a decent “feel good” with great performances, a cute romance, and pretty predictable story.
As I mentioned, the story focuses on Jack Malik, a struggling musician who ends up in an accident after a worldwide blackout and wakes up to find that he’s the only person who remembers The Beatles. He then takes this opportunity and recreates their music, calling it his own but constantly asks himself if this is the right thing to do. He’s instantly thrown in a life of fame and fortune but finds himself torn between his music career and the girl he loves back home. For the most part, the story works and I enjoyed watching Jack question his fame as he keeps getting bigger and bigger as well as the romance between him and his manager – Ellie. Unfortunately, for a movie with such a promising premise, it’s chalked full of cliches and found it pretty predictable. One of my biggest problems with the story is (minor spoiler ahead so skip the rest of the paragraph) they never explain why everyone forgets who The Beatles are, creating a huge plot hole that could be difficult for some to overlook.
The movie is directed by Danny Boyle and he did a decent job with it but it’s definitely not his strongest work. There are some really nice shots the movie really pops with great colour but I feel that anytime there was music being performed, it felt a little generic and there could’ve been more done with it. Something I thought was really smart was naming the movie Yesterday after the Beatles song because the lyrics play a big part in the movie’s narrative and play into the themes of finding your happiness and seizing an opportunity when it’s presented to you. It was just a really smart choice that is well set up in the movie and I didn’t realize it until after the movie finished. The film is also funny and has some clever jokes that help elevate the movie’s look at human nature. Speaking of the music, I feel it was all well integrated and it was awesome to hear so many amazing Beatles songs. Although they can’t cover all of their wide library – and I do wonder what the licensing costs were for this movie – but the songs in the movie all sound great. If you’re a Beatles fan, you’ll have a great time.
The performances in the movie quite strong especially Himesh Patel as Jack and Lily James as Ellie. The pair have really good chemistry and you buy their romance. Their interactions are genuinely cute and all their little inside jokes help ground their relationship because it’s not perfect for them and they have a few really good scenes. Himesh Patel has lots of good scenes outside of the relationship whether it’s with his friend Rocky (played by Joel Fry). him figuring out songs or being all swept up in the music industry. I mentioned the humor and a lot of it works because of the performances making it feel like real conversations and real jokes that could happen. Ed Sheeran is also in the movie and plays himself and is also gives a good performance with some good humor whenever he’s on screen. The one performance that stuck out to me was Kate McKinnon as the big shot manager that Jack meets. She’s the only one who seems more like an exaggerated character. She doesn’t feel like a real person in the movie and I know she’s a funny actress because of her work on SNL but she struggled to fit in.
Yesterday is, for the most part, an enjoyable “feel good” movie. It is disappointing that the movie is also fairly predictable, full of cliches and has a pretty major plot hole in the movie that some people may struggle to look past. The performances and humor are great and Danny Boyle did a good job directing. If you’re a Beatles fan you’ll enjoy the music in the movie and it has a cute romance with great chemistry between Himesh Patel and Lily James. I can’t recommend you rush out and see this movie but it’s a good date movie and worth catching on DVD.
Yesterday is a fun movie but also a tad disappointing due to the predictability of its interesting premise. The Beatles music sounds great and if you’re a fan of their stuff, you’ll enjoy the film. The performances are great and grounded with the humor but it’s not something you need to rush out to go see.