Image: Himesh Patel in Yesterday © Photograph by Jonathan Prime. Property of Universal Pictures [Source: IMDB]
After a freak accident, a struggling musician wakes to find he is the only person in the world who remembers The Beatles. With them having never existed, Jack must decide whether to sell off Beatles songs as his own.
Director: Danny Boyle. Starring: Himesh Patel, Lily James, Joel Fry, Kate McKinnon [12A]
The teaming of a Richard Curtis script, Danny Boyle, The Beatles, a wacky what if scenario, Lily James and a gooey romance is a deliciously pleasant experience. One of the few times you can truly agree with the marketing material – this is in fact “the feel-good film of the summer”.
There is something wonderfully comical and zany to the what if scenario of what if The Beatles never existed but a struggling musician remembers them. It’s kind of something so accessible as in one way or another we’ve all imagined something like this. What if Tarantino never existed and I could replicate his movies for fame and fortune. A lot of that relatable brilliance combined with the hilarity that the accompanies it is down to Richard Curtis, delivering as per usual a script as accessible and enjoyable as an ice cold glass of water. But equally, there is a cool intelligence to the narrative, the subplot of the romance brings to the forefront, admittedly a rather cliched message, of love being more meaningful than fame and fortune.
But Yesterday isn’t here to reinvent the wheel and frankly, nobody cares for it to do so either. I’m sure most will agree with my mentality of going in to listen to some Beatles tracks, see a fun story and come out feeling good. Which Curtis and Boyle deliver in spades. Himesh Patel and Lily James just make it that much more fun with their grounded and simple approach to their performances that just exemplifies why they are perfectly cast. Patel’s believable everyman is how we’d all feel in that scenario and James is the love we all wish we had. The only thing about the romance in the movie is the believability faulters halfway through when Jack is starting to reach success and James’s character reveals her love for Jack. She loves him and believes in him but doesn’t want him if he is successful. It doesn’t make sense until told more eloquently later in the film when she explains that she wanted a simple life and thinks she’d always seem simple in his eyes.
Still, in the end, it still gets you to that warm place of vicarious happiness and you cannot help but be swelled up in the feel-good factor of it all. Especially when that is cradled by the soft sweeping melodies of The Beatles. I did find the stories climax lacked a little to be desired in how the world would take to the revelation of the Beatles never existing yet one person remembers them. Would they really just leave him alone, would nobody care to get all the information they could about them. Is Jack happy never achieving his dreams of musical success? Who knows but by the time the credits roll, I feel good and I’m not sure I care any longer as I got what I came for. Yesterday delivers on almost every cylinder.