Rob Reviews "Yesterday"
When I was a kid, I was a big fan of the “What If?” series put forward by Marvel Comics. In this series (allegedly to be turned into an animated series for Disney+ when it drops in November), the House of Ideas would take their iconic characters and pontificate on how their paths might have changed if one thing were different, like what if Uncle Ben had lived to see Peter Parker become Spider-Man or what if Professor X was never confined to that wheelchair? Writers Jack Barth and Richard Curtis seem to work in this vein as they team up with director Danny Boyle for “Yesterday”.
After a worldwide twelve second blackout that results in him getting hit by a bus on his bicycle, struggling musician Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) realizes that he is the only person in the world to know who The Beatles are (or have ever existed). When he decides to simply start playing their songs and taking them as his own, his career skyrockets as he and his best friend/manager Ellie (Lily James) try to simply take it all in.
On the surface, this would seem like a puff piece with really bad covers of the band that changed the landscape of music forever, but what really lives in this script is fun and has quite a few laugh-out-loud moments. Even though Patel at more than one point seems to be channeling Russel Brand, he makes Jack a character that is extremely likable and his successes seemed to be all of ours. His little changes here and there to the music of The Beatles do lend to making them his own a bit, but the emotion and passion is all still there. Add to that pop superstar Ed Sheeran playing himself and Kate McKinnon playing the manager that wants to be the one that brings him to the world along with a very starry-eyed and innocently cute performance by James, and they bring this story to the screen in the best possible way.
With a very smart script that in a certain fashion ends like it is supposed to without being formulaic, I enjoyed this film A LOT. “Yesterday” is simply one of those films that can only be described simply as “cute,” and that is meant in the highest of complimentary ways. It’s not a rom-com, it’s not a dramedy, it’s not a drama, it’s not even a musical; it simply IS. And that is enough to let it be what it is and enjoy it.
(By the way, I guarantee that I am not the first person to make a really bad pun in their review, but I stand by it.)