Yesterday is a British romantic comedy directed by Danny Boyle and written by Richard Curtis, based on an original screenplay by Jack Barth and Mackenzie Crook. A struggling musician who, after an accident, finds himself as the only person in the world who remembers the Beatles. That leaves him with the unprecedented opportunity to become famous by taking credit for writing and performing Beetle songs. The film falls a little short on imagination but since it’s the Beetle’s songs, it “rocks”.
Yesterday opens with Jack Malik (Himesh Patel), a struggling singer-songwriter from Lowestoft. His manager and childhood friend Ellie Appleton (Lily James), begs a bewildered Jack, not to give up on his dreams. During a global blackout, Jack gets hit by a bus, when he awakens, aside from two missing front teeth, he discovers that no one else on Earth had ever heard of the Beatles. Once he confirms his suspicion, he begins performing Beetle songs, claiming he wrote them. Soon he is heard by a local music producer, Gavin (Alexander Arnold) and records a demo for him, which leads to a performance on local television, which leads to Jack being invited by pop star Ed Sheeran (Ed Sheeran) to play as his opening act in Moscow. Ellie declines to join him, saying she has to work her day job as a schoolteacher, so Jack’s roadie friend, Rocky (Joel Fry) travels with him instead. After the gig, Jack is signed by Sheeran’s agent, Debra Hammer (Kate McKinnon), and rises to global fame. Hoping to trigger more memories of Beatles songs, Jack goes to their hometown of Liverpool, visiting landmarks such as Strawberry Field, Penny Lane, and the grave of Eleanor Rigby.
This being a good place to stop, I can only say that I enjoyed Yesterday, especially the music. I felt too much of the story went unanswered, leaving me to fill in the blanks myself. I also didn’t love Himesh’s singing voice and style. He seemed a bit “pitchy”, to coin a phrase. Yesterday gave us lots of school for thought but didn’t really satisfy our need for explanations. This is a totally British production and therefore, culturally different but still entertaining. Perhaps I’m suffering from culture shock but Yesterday could have been better. The acting was brilliant — too bad the story wasn’t. I recommend you wait for the DVD/Blu-ray. FYI: Getting the rights to include the Beatles’ music cost the filmmakers $10 million. Although none of the Beatles were involved in the production, Boyle received blessings of the project from them and their families. The film received mixed reviews from critics, with praise for the premise, performances, light tone, and musical sequences, but criticism at the familiarity and simplicity. Check It Out, after all, this is only my opinion!