I recently got around to watching the film Yesterday directed by Danny Boyle and starring Himesh Patel.
Yesterday is a comedy which ponders an alternative universe where the Beatles have never existed. Only one man Jack Malick (played by Himesh Patel) a failing musician remembers who they were, and he uses this anomaly to his advantage to further his music career. It provides a wonderful blast of nostalgia and a trip down memory line as Malick tries desperately to remember the lyrics to the Beatles songs and plays some of the greatest tracks ever written.
Ed Sheeran makes an appearance playing himself and lends a good dose of comedy to the film, and in a poignant moment admits that he always knew someone better would come along (referring to the Beatles). It’s a comical bittersweet moment that leaves you wondering how much of Ed is really in that comment.
The plot is fairly simple, the aesthetics are somewhat eye-catching and though the performances are stellar, it was the powerful message of the film that caught my attention most of all. In a world where people are fame-hungry and obsessed with money and reality tv stars, Yesterday dared to go where no other film producers have gone and showed an alternative glance into the music industry. Jack Malick finds success when he passes off the Beatles most classic hits as his own, but finds that fame and stardom aren’t all they are cracked up to be. He soon finds himself on a short leash, tightly controlled by his agent and record company. Once he is on the road to stardom and wealth, working on an album and touring the world, he discovers that with fame comes loneliness and a loss of power. Yesterday even goes as far as poking fun at the music industry in a scene where the marketing team battle out some ideas, in a brainstorming session in the boardroom. The team applaud loudly every time Malick opens his mouth to speak, yet fail to actually listen to his suggestions and dismiss them. To say much more about Jack’s journey would be giving you far too many spoilers, but let’s just say it turns the whole notion of fame and success on its head. It’s a comedy, a romance, a tale of morality and a warning to a generation of people who have become blinded by notions of stardom.
If you’re a Beatles fan you will absolutely love this, and if not, you’ll probably enjoy a great feel-good movie with a powerful message. There’s nothing not to like about this movie.
I’d give the narrative and delivery 7 out of ten, but I feel it deserves an extra point for that wonderful soundtrack, so it gets a super 8/10 on the Kazometer movie scale.