The trailer for the movie Yesterday came out in February, and the film finally arrived in theaters at the end of June. (Note: It’s now available for streaming.)
The main character, Jack (Himesh Patel), is a struggling musician. After his bicycle is hit by a bus during a world-wide power outage, he wakes up to find out he’s the only one who even knows The Beatles existed. He uses Beatles songs as if he had written them, and becomes famous (as shown in the trailer). Besides that high concept, the main story is the relationship between him and his manager/girlfriend Ellie (Lily James). Both actors are excellent in these roles.
So how was the movie? My wife & I loved it. (We went a second time 3 weeks later with our daughter-in-law and grandson …who’s been listening to a lot of Beatles music lately.)
You can tell the makers of the movie have great affection for The Beatles, and even though this is a romantic comedy, the legacy of The Beatles is never tarnished in any way. Paul McCartney said he and his wife Nancy snuck into a theatre to watch Yesterday, and “loved it”.
The excitement of The Beatles (”I Want To Hold Your Hand”, “She Loves You”) and the beauty of their songs (”Yesterday”, “In My Life”) are both there. Of course Jack is not as good as The Beatles, but the songs still shine.
Helping Jack along the way are Ed Sheeran (as a version of himself), and Sheeran’s manager (played by Kate McKinnon). Sheeran does a great job, and it wouldn’t be surprising if he gets more acting roles. McKinnon is funny as the obviously greedy manager.
The movie also has it’s heart in the right place, and there are some very nicely surprising scenes I won’t spoil. You’ll be glad you didn’t read any spoilers.
By the way, one of the scenes from the first trailer was eliminated from the movie. You may have seen where Jack is asked to “write something” on James Corden’s Late Late Show. Of course Jack writes George Harrison’s “Something” right there. The scene was cut to eliminate the female character (actress Ana de Armas) Jack was singing to on the show. The writer and director decided they didn’t want to add a romantic figure in Jack’s life who could interfere with his main relationship with Ellie.
There have been some reviewers who wanted the movie to dig into things such as…would The Beatles’ songs still be relevant to today’s young people?…but that’s another movie (maybe a documentary), and this is just a fun fantasy! This weekend’s movie goers have rated the movie highly (90% approval), and it won the audience prize at the Montclair film festival.
So, if you love The Beatles and good romantic comedies, do yourself a favor, and see Yesterday…it’ll make all your troubles seem so far away.