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Film Review—Some Love Songs Out Of ‘Yesterday’

Himesh Patel in "Yesterday."
Himesh Patel in "Yesterday."

Posted Friday, June 28, 2019 - 1:31 pm

By Adam Sherman

Most works that feature elements of science fiction or fantasy tend to wear them on their sleeve and weave said elements throughout – Star Wars, Game of Thrones, etc. However, every so often you get films that feature a single fantasy or science fiction element solely for the sake of facilitating the plot such as Groundhog Day or Another Earth. They use elements such as time loops or alternate universes solely for the sake of facilitating a more grounded, characterization-based story. Films in similar veins are still produced to this day, such as 2017’s Happy Death Day, and this week’s subject, the ironically-named Yesterday.

And like many of it’s cinematic contemporaries, Yesterday is a nice little film.

From Academy Award-winning director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, 28 Days Later) and Academy Award-nominated writer Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually), Yesterday focuses on aspiring musician Jack Malik (Himesh Patel). After getting hit by a bus during a global blackout, Jack wakes to a world that has forgotten the Beatles ever existed. Using the songs of Britain’s most iconic musical quartet, Jack rises to global fame, but in the process he risks losing Ellie (Lily James), the one person who always believed in him.

At first glance, the film’s premise may draw some similarity to A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court. However, outside a few humorous asides regarding other missing aspects of civilization (cigarettes, Coca-Cola, Harry Potter), the blackout’s sole purpose is to enable the film’s main plot and gimmick.

If you’ve seen any film about a musician who has to choose between their potential fame and their potential flame, you probably know how this is going to go down. The characters aren’t particularly deep either.

On the plus side, the performances of Patel and James alongside their chemistry manage to get you hooked into the film early on. It’s difficult not to like either of them or sympathize with them even though they can come off as two-dimensional.

And then there is the music… of which I don’t know how to properly react to due to my lack of interest in musicals and my lack of interest in the Beatles.

All that said, if you’re in the mood for a fun, cute musical comedy, you could do worse.

Go see this movie when you can.

7/10.

Yesterday is distributed by Universal Pictures and hits theaters today.

 

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