A fairly charming little film, Yesterday (2019) tells the classic tale of wanting it all, and finding that it doesn’t come without consequences. Directed by Danny Boyle and written by Richard Curtis, Yesterday was entertaining, fun and vibrant but it did have some flaws.
After an electrical storm where all the lights over the world turn of for twelve seconds, Jack (Himesh Patel) gets hit by a bus and wakes up to find out he’s the only person in the world that can remember the Beatles. The concept is brilliant, in fact I thought it was original and snappy, but the execution is where this film takes a little stumble. Writer Richard Curtis has decided on this electrifying plot, and it really doesn’t explain itself to the viewer. How has this happened? and where have Paul, Ringo and George gone? (We find out that John Lennon is living in a cottage by the beach). Jack also discoverers that Coca Cola, cigarettes and Oasis are a fragment of his ‘past’. This again, is not explained or justified in the script. The script has a lot of loose ends, another strange moment is when at a concert in Moscow, a man watches in wonder at Jacks concert, and a lady in Liverpool follows him round the city, to where we learn they also remember the Beatles and are thankful to Jack for recording their music. An odd moment in the script if you ask me.
You also feel a bit sad that the Beatles don’t exist anymore, but perhaps this is slightly resolved when Jack visits John Lennon, who is alive, old and happy. A sweet addition to the film was Lily James (Ellie). In classic Curtis style, Ellie and Jack are childhood friends that can’t seem to work out a way to get together in their decade long friendship. While this should have been the main story, it does get pushed back a bit when the wonder of Los Angeles comes into play.
What I really loved about the film was the setting, the characters and the design. It is beautifully made, with compassion for normal people, with extraordinary power. I adored the style of the film, it almost felt real. Lily James and Himesh Patel work well with each other, it’s not forced or awkward, they come across as good friends with a complicated future. However, I can’t avoid that what is really special about this film is the music of the Beatles, that globally people worship. You fall in love with the Beatles all over again.
‘Something’ that I thought was fun about Yesterday was the added star power of Ed Sheeran, who plays himself. In acting terms he wasn’t great, but I accepted that he was playing himself and he was also doing a pretty cool thing for the film (Letting them film at his concerts). Moreover, Jacks punchy LA manager Debra (Kate Mckinnon) is a well adjusted addition to the film. Jack and Ellie also have a zesty group of friends that I generally wanted to see more off in the film, including Rocky (Joel Fry) of whom you come to love.
Yesterday is by no means a classic, it is however the perfect Sunday afternoon film to laze around too. I loved the ending, hopefully this film will do well, it has a special magic to it that only Boyle and Curtis’s teamwork can make, and you’ll definitely have fun watching it.
*images and names are not my own*
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