‘Yesterday‘ was directed by Danny Boyle and is about a out of luck (possibly even untalented) singer/songwriter Jack Malik (played by Himesh Patel) who after an accident, wakes up to a world where The Beatles never existed. It takes all but a millisecond for Jack to seize the opportunity to cash in on The Beatles songs, writing down every lyric he can remember and beginning to perform their hits in local spots alongside his well-meaning, but inefficient manager Ellie Appleton (played by Lily James). As fame and notoriety hits, everything in Jacks life booms into the life of a rock-star, but Jack may have bitten off more than he can chew, in this quirky, delightful comedy that for me is the feel-good movie of the year.
I had little to no idea what I was walking into when going to see this film, but the premise to me sounded really interesting and unique. Growing up The Beatles had a profound influence on me. Whether in high school, when our Jazz band would kill time by playing “Come Together” to the car rides with my parents singing “Got to Get You Into My Life”, I have always been a Beatles-fanatic. It’s worth mentioning for this review because It will affect how receptive you are to the film, if you hate the Beatles, this won’t change your mind (even if I desperately want it to) but if you know even the basics of The Beatles, I believe this will have just as strong an impact on moviegoers that “Bohemian Rhapsody” had last year when it comes to re-introducing people to classic and important music.
I adored this film! The story was so positive and charming, I think films like this come once a year, where it’s not trying to tell a hard-hitting deep drama, that’s trying to come across as snobbish to it’s audience. This film is a celebration of The Beatles, and of positivism. It is able to keep the tone light and also explore all sides to the stories premise, but not trying to meticulously delve into themes that didn’t serve the tone that Danny Boyle was intent on showing.
Also, this movie is FUNNY. The comedy really hits from minute one and doesn’t stop even until the end which for a lot of stories is hard to accomplish. Usually in movies–particularly not well crafted comedies, the film forgets about the story for the first two acts focusing on getting as many jokes out as they can, and have to double down in story during the 3rd act, which makes the film feel really unbalanced but with ‘Yesterday’ I really didn’t see that.
The acting is great, both Himesh Patel and Lilly James were great as the leads, I really believed their chemistry and was invested in their relationship. Supporting actors were also very strong, the standout for me was Jack Maliks dopey yet well intention-ed friend ‘Rocky’ (played by Joel Fry). He was a scene-stealer in every scene he was in. Kate McKinnon plays the ‘big time manager’ with her SNL charm and quirkiness that pairs perfectly with this film. There is a character in the film that I won’t spoil but even they had pretty good moments and is sure to catch the attention of the more younger audience that might not know much about The Beatles.
Every critique I had while watching the film, not two or scenes later they address. It started to hit every note perfectly to me up until the third act. The third act or even the last 5 minutes of the film is where I felt it could’ve been less tied up, it seemed to have multiple endings that if the director has decided to leave some of the answers more ambiguous and left up to interpretation to the viewer I would’ve almost considered this a perfect ending. That along with a horribly blatant plug for that above referenced ‘cameo’ appearance really threw away the message of the story, if not just felt completely out of place in the last few minute of a film centered around The Beatles.
Overall, I had one of the best times in the theaters this year watching ‘Yesterday’. It is a love letter to all The Beatles fans out there, and if you aren’t leaving the theater with at least one catchy tune stuck in your head.. well you need some joy in your life. It’s likely this films is going to be received by critics the same as ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ with complains about how ‘surface level’ the story is and sure you can point out inconsistencies and whatnot. But this isn’t a film concerned with anything other than entertaining you and leaving you with a positive and happy feeling.
I’m giving ‘Yesterday’ a 9/10
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