Distributor: Universal Pictures
Production Companies: Working Title Films & Decibel Films
Director: Danny Boyle
Producers: Tim Bevan, Eric Fellner, Bernie Bellew, Matthew James Wilkinson, Richard Curtis & Danny Boyle
Scriptwriter: Richard Curtis
Main Cast: Himesh Patel, Lily James, Ed Sheeran & Kate McKinnon
Released: June 28, 2019
Running Time: 116 Minutes
Yesterday is a very unique and cleverly-written tale which takes some incredibly famous songs and rewrites their back-story entirely.
Jack Malik is a struggling musician from Lowestoft who, despite constant support from his best friend/manager Ellie, is ready to pack it in until one fateful evening changes everything. A worldwide power outage occurs, with Jack being in the wrong place at the wrong time as he’s wiped out by a bus. Whilst seemingly fine at first (missing teeth aside), Jack soon realises something has changed – nobody knows who The Beatles are.
With this knowledge, Jack sets off on a mission to recreate as much of their music as possible. With the help of Ellie, Jack manages to impress a local music producer, Gavin, who lets Jack and Ellie use his studio to record a CD. This results in a TV appearance for Jack, where his live performance catches the eye of worldwide superstar Ed Sheeran. Ed invites Jack to support him on his tour, where Ed’s manager Debra Hammer is convinced to sign him up to the record.
With one hit Beatles song after another, Jack becomes a worldwide phenomenon, but is forced to leave Ellie behind to pursue his work. Despite his success, Jack must face the numerous inner conflicts his decisions have caused as he feels a tremendous amount of guilt for stealing the songs, as well as some underlying feelings for the girl he left behind.
Yesterday’s biggest positive was always going to be the music. You can’t make a film including so many hits from the greatest band of all time and not expect the music to steal the show, and Himesh Patel (Jack) shows his quality in his fantastic renditions of all the classic Beatle’s songs.
Beyond the music, Patel’s acting quality shines throughout the film, with protagonist Jack being an incredibly likeable and down to earth character. It is perhaps his interactions with Ellie – played fantastically by the brilliant Lily James – that he is at his best, with undoubted chemistry between the two leads. The will they won’t they love story is where the true heart of the film lies and it’s a joy to watch it unfold. The supporting cast all do their part, with Joel Fry being an absolute scene stealer as Jack’s ‘roadie’ Rocky; however, Kate McKinnon is a weak link in the film. She plays Jack’s new manager Debra, and at times it seems as if she is in a completely different film, constantly breaking up serious scenes and acting extremely over the top. There is no doubt that McKinnon is a fine comedic actor, but this role just didn’t hit in the same way some of her top performances have done.
All in all, Yesterday is a fun, feel-good movie and well worth a watch. Despite McKinnon’s character and a weak ending that I won’t spoil here, the movie’s strong leads and infectious tunes make sure you leave the cinema feeling good, and with a Beatles song or two stuck in your head – and that’s definitely a good thing!
Overall Rating: 8/10 – Very Good