Going into the cinema to see Yesterday (2019), I was unsure what to expect. I knew I like Danny Boyle, The Beatles and all things alternative history. Because of that, I wanted to like this movie. And I’m happy to say- I did. Yesterday is a charming ode to British music, and a love letter to the impact that our idols have on us.
For those unfamiliar with the premise- Yesterday is about a man who wakes up in a world where The Beatles do not exist. Cue witty jokes, and clever insight about the music business. Make no mistake about it: Yesterday has hilarious moments, yet it’s not really a strict comedy. It’s more of a heartwarming, light-hearted sci-fi romantic comedy film. Another thing I love about Yesterday is that it’s not vicious. Every character feels real, and because of that, their experiences matter. This sends a powerful message that our choices do matter.
Adding to the films enjoyment is the superb cast. From Himesh Patel as the lead character, Jack- to Joel Fry, to Lily James- it’s hard to find fault. It is certainly interesting to see Ed Sheeran play himself! He gets quite a bit of screentime, which is surprising. I’m glad Danny Boyle doesn’t demote any of his characters to meaningless cameos. Because of that, Yesterday feels fresh. Among the yellow submarines and the strawberry fields, there are many delights for the audience to find.
We should give props to Richard Curtis for masterfully telling a wonderful story. Because of his rare storytelling ability, the viewers are transported into a magical and musical world. I do not want to leave it! As the film closes, I felt satisfied and content. Beyond the endearing musical references to Pulp, Neutral Milk Hotel and Oasis- there is a fantastic story about music and the impact it leaves on us. As a character remarks, a world without Beatles music is sad.
That being said, I wish Yesterday took time to show the differences between the alternative history and Jack’s world. Besides hilarious jokes involving Google search, I think Yesterday would benefit from a more sophisticated insight into this newly crafted universe. Still- the flaws do not detract from a terrific film that has plenty of heart. I find myself humming along to the songs and cheering when Jack played them. Because of that, I am happy to say that Yesterday grips the audience tight, and never lets go.
A fantastic film.