“Yesterday” follows the story of Jack Malik (Himesh Patel), a struggling musician trying to make it big in music. Even with the help of his lifelong friend and manager Ellie Appleton (Lily James), Jack can’t catch a break and is on the verge of giving up on his dream. However, one night after a failed show, all power across the globe suddenly shuts down just as Jack is hit by a bus. Although he survives, Jack soon discovers the world he’s awoken in is no longer the same when he makes several references to the Beatles, only for his peers to respond with confusion. Realizing he’s the only individual who possesses knowledge of the British rock band and their music, Jack decides to restart his music venture using Beatles songs as his own. The film also includes an appearance by Ed Sheeran.
This is an interesting but flawed film. I’m going to be fair and express what I found enjoyable about “Yesterday.” While the overall plot sounds kind of ludicrous on paper, it’s a fascinating idea when you stop and consider the possibility. Imagine if you suddenly woke up and a great band you enjoy, a movie you love, or something along those lines no longer existed, and everyone in the world except you has any knowledge of it. If you could, would you reinvent it and pass it off as your own?
Another feature I found fascinating about “Yesterday” was its lead character, Jack Malik. Oh, it’s not because he’s interesting. In fact, he’s so simple he’s almost forgettable, but the film is aware of this. In a typical rising star story, the trope is usually an average Joe discovers their talent or some secret to success which instantly leads them to fame and fortune. “Yesterday” doesn’t take that direction, however. While Jack does become a success, it doesn’t happen right off the bat. When he starts singing Beatles music, Jack still struggles to capture people’s attention as they find him so disinteresting they won’t even listen.
Overall, “Yesterday” has grand acting, great cinematography, and the music is probably the best part of it all. However, where I feel the movie stagnates is in its writing. It’s hard to fully explain without going into spoilers, but when Jack finally receives validation and fame halfway through the film, it’s right around here where the plot begins to deteriorate. There were moments where I found myself struggling to determine where the story was going, and when I thought I did, the film just decides to wrap things up in a neat little bow and roll the credits.
All in all, it feels like they had an idea—a struggling musician awakens in a world where the Beatles never existed—yet they didn’t know how to incorporate it into a story. It happens more than you think in movies, shows, and videogames. You could have the greatest and most groundbreaking idea in the world, but unless you know how to properly weave this idea into a story, it won’t look good in the execution.
“Yesterday” is rated PG-13 for suggestive content and language. If you’re a huge fan of the Beatles, you’ll probably enjoy this film as the lead star Himesh Patel does a phenomenal job recreating them. If you’re looking for an outstanding story, then you’re not going to be pleased. While the idea is interesting, it’s not enough to make up for the lackluster writing. Which is a shame as this film was directed by Oscar-winning director Danny Boyle, the man who made “28 Days Later,” “Slumdog Millionaire,” and “127 Hours.” Even with his talent, however, the final score for “Yesterday” is a 7 out of 10.
Marco Island resident and avid moviegoer, Matthew Mendisana is a Lynn University alumnus. While he possesses a bachelor’s degree in science, it’s the arts that attracted his attention. In his four years at Lynn, Matthew managed to achieve Magna Cum Laude status, earn three publications in the Lynn University magazine, make a short documentary featured in the university’s Film Festival, and created a radio PSA that was later broadcasted overseas.