Movie Review Monday: Yesterday
As someone who cannot always tolerate horror films, Yesterday ended up being the film of choice this weekend. The British romantic comedy was directed by Slumdog Millionaire’s Danny Boyle and written by Richard Curtis. The film follows a struggling musician, who ends up being the only one to remember The Beatles after a bus accident and a worldwide power outage. Himesh Patel stars as musician Jack Malik, and Lily James co-stars as his longtime friend, Ellie. The cast also includes Kate McKinnon, Ed Sheeran, Joel Fry, Ellise Chappell, Alexander Arnold, Sanjeev Bhaskar, and Meera Syal.
The film follows Jack Malik, a musician who is performing his original music at smaller venues. He works at a store in addition to pursuing music, but after another disheartening performance, Jack is convinced he should stop performing. His best friend and manager, Ellie, tries to encourage him to keep going, but he is convinced that stopping is the best thing. Whenever there is a global blackout, though, Jack is accidentally hit by a bus. After his recovery, Ellie and his other friends surprise him with a new guitar, where he begins to play “Yesterday.” Ellie and the others claim to have never heard the popular song before, and Jack is shocked to learn that The Beatles seem to no longer exist. He soon begins to realize, though, that he might be able to use their iconic songs to make his dream career come true.
Ever since the first trailer, I have been excited by the premise of Yesterday. I think the story has some gaps, but overall, the premise for the film is still intriguing. They never really go into how the global blackout occurs or how exactly The Beatles are forgotten, which can be a frustrating point. However, the story is more about the fallout of these developments instead of how it happens. The film also maintains excitement through the other products and phenomenons that disappear along with The Beatles. In addition to an intriguing story, it really is enjoyable to watch unfold. The film is full of good music, charming performances, and plenty of funny moments. There are quite a few good one-liners, and it also keeps the humor coming through some dry humor and situational humor. Additionally, the film does a nice job of helping the audience feel the tension Jack feels as he worries about the truth being discovered.
It should come as no surprise, though, that the music and the characters are the highlights of the film. The plot might stumble at different times, but the characters and the actors portraying them make the story worthwhile. Lily James is as stellar as ever as the supportive best friend, and she embodies the heart of the movie. She also has great chemistry with Himesh Patel, who makes his debut on the big screen with this film. Patel delivers on the musical side of things easily, and he delivers on the more dramatic moments as well. Ed Sheeran has a lot of fun portraying himself, and his scene in Jack’s kitchen is one of my favorite moments from the film. Kate McKinnon’s character seemed out of place in this world, but Jack’s parents and the character of Rocky add even more comic relief to the film while accompanying Jack on his personal journey.
At the end of the day, Yesterday is far from perfect but kind of hard to resist. It can easily be called one of the feel good movies of the summer with its charm and humor. It does have some unexpected twists and turns, and at the end of the day, Yesterday is a love song to The Beatles and the impact their music left on the world. I doubt that Yesterday will end up on my top ten list at the end of the year, but Lily James and some of The Beatles’ greatest hits make this one an enjoyable trip to the theater.
Mollie is a film enthusiast, aspiring writer/screenwriter, and a lover of all things Harry Potter, Star Wars, and Doctor Who. She is the co-founder of The Digital Shore (@thedigitalshore) and Above The Line (@atl_movies). You can follow her many adventures through Twitter and Instagram at @mcbeach.