Movie Review by Cindy Summers
2 palm trees out of 4
Yesterday is a comedy based fantasy that centers around musician Jack Malik’s fortunate accident that he’s the only one in the whole world that remembers the Beatles after an unexplained global blackout. Released by Universal Pictures, Directed by Danny Boyle , Written by Richard Curtis and staring Himesh Patel as Jack Malik who also personally performs all the Beatles music in the movie.
Jack Malik lives in a small English town and where as a singer-songwriter, his career is just as small and seems to be fading. When a world wide power outage occurs, he’s struck by a bus on his bike and wakes up in the hospital with minor injuries, and once recovered is gifted a replacement guitar from his friends to replace the one he lost in the accident.
To Jack’s surprise, not only do his friends not remember the Beatles song “Yesterday” when as strummed on his new guitar, they actually think that Jack wrote it, and Jack soon finds it’s not only is friends but everyone in the world who now know nothing about the Beatles. Finding no trace of their existence, Jack sets out to re-spark is music career by re-sharing the Beatles with the world.
Jack and his music (actually all Beatles tunes) gain immediate popularity and he’s spotted by Ed Sheeran, who asks Jack to join him on tour. Jack finds himself as the opening act in Moscow and Los Angeles and gains world notoriety, but personal issues with Ellie and his conscientious cause things to change course and Jack ends up face to face with John Lennon in the twilight years of his alternate life.
All the Beatles cover songs in the movie are sung by Himesh Patel, who plays the guitar and piano as well. Director Danny Boyle chose Patel for the part after hearing him play “Yesterday” and “Back in the U.S.S.R.” at auditions, where both Boyle and Ed Sheeran agreed Patel’s voice had soul. Patel also has a very likable demeanor that automatically has the audience rooting for him and serves his role well as an accidental world music sensation.
Though Patel is a relative newcomer to the big screen, the cast includes other notable actors including Lily James as Ellie Appleton who is Himesh’s childhood friend and love interest, Kate McKinnon plays the role of his manager Debra Hammer, and Ed Sheeran as himself in fictional role that is somewhat true to his actual life.
Yesterday does well in bringing the audience back to the magic of the Beatles and their music, but the fantasy of the story is too farfetched for it to add up to anything more than a feel good movie with good music.
Rated PG 112m