The world is full of people and things that are so woven in our minds and hearts that it is hard to picture what life would be without them. From music to film and art, the influences that some have created has shaped the lives of millions if not billions of people. But what if one day you woke up and that art never existed, but you were the only one who remembered them, what would you do? That is just the question Yesterday asks in just the right kind of British comedy kind of way that makes the answer quite bloody fun.
Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) is a struggling musician who after a performance at a school talent show believed he was destined for great things. With the support of his best friend/manager Elle (Lily James) she takes the belief and runs with it, only to realize the dreams can come crashing down after years of failure. But as if fate was trying to tell him something, on the night he decides to give up, the world suffers a black out which results in Jack being hit by a bus. When he awakes everything minus his two missing front teeth seem the same, it is only when he sings a song after receiving a new guitar from Elle that something seems different. The song of choice is Yesterday and Elle and Jack’s other friends are amazed that he wrote that, when Jack protest and says he didn’t, that The Beatles did, their response is, “who?” With the help of Google, Jack discovers that the Fab Four never existed and decides to start playing them as if they were his own. Of course Jack becomes a big star, but along the way to the top, Jack starts to have his doubts in what he is doing and only hopes it’s not too late to make the right choices in his life.
I would have to think that waking up and finding what is arguably the greatest band of all time no longer existing would be quite a shock to the system. If you had the talent to put what was taken away, back out in the world, would you do that? That’s what Yesterday, which was written by Jack Barth and Richard Curtis, asks and it does so in the most charming way. While you might think The Beatles music might be the reason to come, it may certainly get you in the door, but you will want to stay because of Patel and James, who both just shine in their performances. I really just enjoyed this movie, because it hits all the right notes when it comes to a comedy and oh by the way the music is pretty good as well.
It does feel as though director Danny Boyle takes a backseat to the story, where his style is usually very pronounced, here he pulls back a bit. The running time is a bit long as well, but the music and some of the clever detours the film takes make it worth it. This really is a movie for everyone, and will probably end up being the feel-good movie of the summer, because who doesn’t like a little dose of sunshine in their life? Yesterday is that movie that will make you feel good while playing those familiar classic tunes, and in today’s world climate we all got to get that into our life.