Review: Yesterday

Himesh Patel and Lily James in Yesterday

Yesterday is full of music and love and all the good feelings you’ll ever need. What could be better?

The setup in Yesterday is that suddenly no one remembers The Beatles or their music except a failing musician named Jack Malik (Himesh Patel). He becomes famous singing Beatles songs. There are a couple of other things no one else remembers, as well, but I won’t spoil the joke by telling you what they are.

A beautiful, warm-hearted cast made the film sparkle. Himesh Patel as Jack was perfect. His manager (who’d been in love with him since junior high) was Ellie (Lily James). Lily James is so freakin’ cute in this part, and I mean that as a compliment. Just look at her image on the poster below – supremely cute.

Jack’s parents were Sheila (Meera Syal) and Jed Malid (Sanjeev Bhaskar). Did you know Sanjeev Bhaskar can be hilarious? I’ve only seen him do serious stuff.

Himesh Patel in Yesterday

When Jack finally got noticed for singing a Beatles song rather than one of his own compositions, he was approached by Ed Sheeran. Sheeran introduced Jack to his cutthroat business manager Debra Hammer (Kate McKinnon) who proceeded to market Jack to the hilt with dollar signs in her eyes all the while.

Jack’s rise to fame was swift. He lost Ellie only to realize he wanted her. He felt guilty and conflicted. Then two strangers – the Russian Stranger (Justin Edwards) and the Liverpool Stranger (Sarah Lancashire) hold up plastic yellow submarines at a press conference. The Liverpool Stranger asked him who his favorite was – Paul, John, George, or Ringo. He thinks he’s sunk, but when he talks to them in private it isn’t that way. In fact, they lead him to someone very important.

I actually went to see the film because Sarah Lancashire’s in it. She had a small part but it was worth the wait. And it was a wonderful film, so thanks to Sarah for getting me there.

I asked myself what was more important – the songs or The Beatles themselves? Could the music alone make someone famous? Could the charisma and personas of The Beatles alone make them famous? After all, when The Beatles began they were competing with folks like Perry Como. They were new. Exciting. Today The Beatles would be competing with acts like Ed Sheeran, who played himself in Yesterday.

I’ve heard “Let it Be” sung by The Beatles all my life and I never actually understood what it was about until I heard Lucy Kaplansky sing it. Was it the song, or the musicians, the right moment, or what?

Why they became famous doesn’t matter, however, because everyone knows and loves The Beatles. Everyone will probably love this movie, too. Danny Boyle directed this feel-good magic.

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Poster for Yesterday

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Have you seen Yesterday? What did you think of it?

5 thoughts on “Review: Yesterday”

  1. Personally, I find the Beatles to be highly over-rated and I state with full confidence that if they had attempted to come out today in the current cultural climate, they would be complete failures. Basically, the film’s premise fails to take into account that the Beatles are what they are because of history, not the music itself, which is fair to middling at best. They are jsut run of the mill pop music. It also fails to take into account that the current music scene would be vastly different without them. Like many an alternate history story, it falls prey to the idea that you can just lift out one thing from history and everything will pretty much carry on the same just without that one bit. It also bases its premise on the idea that the Beatles would be loved no matter what the social climate at the time, an idea I find ludicrous on its very face.

    That being said, there’s still room for it to be a feel-good light little romp as long as you don’t look at it too deeply.

    1. Exactly. It isn’t meant to be serious, I don’t think. A fun romp is much appreciated in this political climate. Do appreciate you sharing your insight because I hadn’t gone that far in my thinking.

  2. Steve Goodman

    Have never heard the Beatles referred to as “run of the mill” or over rated,really ? and probably never will again. Am looking forward to watching this movie.

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