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“Yesterday” Performing the Past




Review by Susan Phillips

How can you make a film involving the Beatles without the Beatles? That was my first impression of the trailer. However, you know what, Danny Boyle who gave the world Slumdog Millionaire shows how it’s done in the film Yesterday.  If the movie gets a good following, look for it at the Academy Awards.

Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) is a small time singer/songwriter from Sussex England.  His longtime friend and manager Ellie Appleton (Lily James) books him to play at small gigs, and he has a small following of loyal friends.  Jack thinks he might get his big break playing the Latitude Festival, but after a disappointing turnout, he’s ready to throw in the towel and give up on his dream.

He tells Ellie the only way he could ever make it is if a miracle happened. That night while riding his bicycle home after dark, there’s a sudden but brief world-wide blackout and Jack is hit by a bus.  After his release from the hospital and while coming to grips with giving up his dream, Jack realizes that no one has ever heard of the Beatles. No Yesterday. No Long and Winding Road. No John, Paul, George or Ringo.

(from left) Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) and Ellie (Lily James) in “Yesterday,” directed by Danny Boyle.

Jack cannot imagine a world where no one has heard any of the genius lyrics or melodies of the Beatles.  He knows he must get their songs out to the world. Remembering the lyrics as best he can, he starts performing once again and is seen by a recording studio.  He records a few songs and is quickly discovered by the one and only Ed Sheeran. It isn’t long before Jack becomes an overnight singer/songwriter sensation, all the while knowing he’s living a lie.

Writers Richard Curtis and Jack Barth assembled a cast of supporting characters for Jack who fit perfectly into his life and this movie. His friends Nick (Harry Michell) and Carol (Sophia Di Martino) never miss a show and are his biggest fans.  Rocky (Joel Fry) becomes his roadie and adds color to the film. His parents Jed (Sanjeev Bhaskar) and Sheila (Meera Syal) are amused by Jacks dreams but don’t take him too seriously about it. Manager Debra Hammer (Kate McKinnon) has a knack for saying whatever is on her mind and is all you would expect from a manager of an overnight sensation.

Himesh Patel as Jack Malik in “Yesterday,” directed by Danny Boyle.

Directed by Danny Boyle, this original and creative movie is sure to be a hit with anyone who appreciates a good Beatles song.  It explores how one man handles living in somewhat of an alternative universe. It’s thought provoking, yet easy to enjoy while singing along to the tunes of one of the greatest bands ever.

I give this film 4.5 stars out of 5 for its creativity and wonderful performance by the lead character.  It’s perfect for a first date, see it with a group of friends, or to take your parents to.

Cast: Himesh Patel, Lily James, Ed Sheeran, Kate McKinnon
Directed by: Danny Boyle
Genre: Romantic, Comedy, Music
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for suggestive content and language. Be cautious as some material may not be suitable for immature youngsters.
Running Time: 1 hr. 56 min.

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