Yesterday was a fun and amazing way to revisit The music of The Beatles while also reliving the phenomenon that was their ascent. Himesh Patel and the supporting cast were all great throughout.
The movie Yesterday has a fun idea at its core and is a great way to revisit the music of perhaps the greatest band of all time. Even if you aren’t necessarily a fan of The Beatles, you know the songs. I personally realized this throughout the movie as I got excited when different songs were played. I’m getting ahead of myself though.
I was pleasantly surprised by just how funny Yesterday was, the music was great, the acting was great, and they make great use of the dramatic tension of their premise. More on that later.
Yesterday was just as fun as the trailer makes it out to be. There is a romance story line that I don’t really care for but besides that it’s a fun ride with great acting and great humor throughout.
As the trailer makes clear, the movie centers around The Beatles music. Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) is a struggling musician at the start of the movie. His music isn’t bad but he isn’t gaining much traction with it. Just as he’s almost ready to give up a weird global phenomenon takes place as he’s hit by a bus. When he gets out of the hospital, Jack plays a song from the Beatles for his friends and they ask him when he wrote it. He’s confused at first but eventually figures out that he is the only one who remembers The Beatles. He starts trying to remember their songs and playing them at his shows as his own. Suddenly he’s taking off. It’s fun watching him recall the songs, perform them and seeing people discover them for the first time all over again. It’s the same madness that happened when The Beatles first happened.
There’s even a surprise appearance by Ed Sheeran. He ends up sticking around for a while too and plays a couple of his own songs. Again, I’m not a fan of either truly but the music was good and the environments were great. Several times in the movie you felt like you were at a concert.
In a movie like this it would be very easy for it to come off as cheesy or goofy. However, Himesh Patel (EastEnders) does a great job playing the only person who remembers The Beatles. In many instances his reactions are what make the scenes. He’s reacting exactly like we would. From his slow realization to his slow acceptance. He also realizes from time to time that other things no longer exist that would have been day-to-day items or household names. The movie makes the most of its premise for sure.
Besides Himesh, there is a strong supporting cast as well. Lily James (Baby Driver, Cinderella) plays his best friend/manager Ellie and you can tell early on there’s more there. When she falls into the love interest role things get complicated and, again, I didn’t much care for how it plays out but that’s nothing against her performance. Joel Fry (Game of Thrones) is hilarious in his role as the bumbling, but loyal, stagehand Rocky. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night Live) as the record label exec that is trying to launch Jack to stardom. There were strong performances all around.
My favorite aspect of Yesterday, once it was over, was realizing that they didn’t try to explain what happened at all. All of the power in the world went off at once, everyone knows this happened and then some things just happened to be erased from existence. Some things suddenly never happened. It was as if God hit reset. Perhaps it was Jack’s accident happening at that exact moment that kept him from forgetting but we don’t really get that explanation either. With that said, I spent the entire movie waiting for someone else to remember, for Jack to be called out for what he was doing. It adds some serious tension to the viewing. You love the highs but you’re always prepared for that next shoe to drop. There’s no way he’s going to get away with this. Right?
You’ll have to watch to find out. Check out the trailer below.