The Beatles undeniably produced some of the greatest art to ever be made. As the best-selling band in history, all of their catchy tunes fill you with a sense of pleasure that is impossible to avoid. In Danny Boyle’s latest film Yesterday, an intense story of emotion intertwines itself into the lyrics of the most famous songs in music history to create a comedy that can so easily be simply enjoyed by a vast audience.
In the film, struggling songwriter Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) is involved in a freak bike accident during a 12-second world blackout. After recovering in the hospital—and only leaving with a few missing teeth and some bumps and bruises—Jack returns to the comfort of playing his favorite tunes for his friends, only to find out one little thing has changed since the accident in the weeks prior: the Beatles never existed.
The long list of extraordinarily written and performed songs was erased from the world, and for some unknown reason, Jack is the only human to remember each and every hit the star band once produced. Seeing a golden opportunity for success, Jack loads his brain with lyrics and records an album singing—and claiming—all of The Beatles’ hit songs as his own. Jack’s fame is quickly on the rise, but in addition, so is his guilt.
Throughout Yesterday’s plot, we see Jack travel through a true rollercoaster of emotions. Pain, regret, and even love are all part of his journey to stardom, which in the end may not even be what he was searching for after all.
A large piece of the film is dedicated to the love story that helpless Jack just can’t quite seem to figure out for himself. His life-long best friend and manager Ellie (Lily James) knows she’s in love with the boy who is being deemed the best songwriter in the world, but as his music is taking over much of his life, Jack is sent barreling down a trail of difficult decisions. Should he choose the simple life he had once held, or will this glimpse of fame reel him in forever?
Although the romantic subplot does oftentimes provide hints of comic relief, it is easily the movie’s weakest point. The relationship between Ellie and Jack is oftentimes uncomfortable to watch unfold, and it is not a necessary part of the film that would be enchanting on its own.
The scenes encompassing The Beatles’ greatest hits like “Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da” and “Yesterday” keep the film exciting; the lovable tunes roar through the screen and truly match the often hectic, comedic, and sensitive tones of the different pieces of the film.
Although it was the lead actor’s debut feature role, Milak did an amazing job as the quirky, awkward newcomer to the music industry. As he is suddenly a superstar known around the world by famous musicians and celebrities, the changes experienced by the once unknown artist are sure to provide the audience with well-needed laughs as Jack struggles along his journey with fame and fortune.
With appearances from fan favorites including Ed Sheeran and James Corden, the film certainly keeps you on your toes and encompasses many different personalities that seamlessly fall into the amusing plot. While this music-oriented film is not able to be taken to the next level like others including Bohemian Rhapsody or A Star is Born, the screenplay, script, and songs are still able to impress an audience in search of an easy watch.
While Yesterday is truly just a simple, feel-good comedy film, there is a need for movies of its style that will never fade away. The hilarious scenes combined with a classic soundtrack make for a movie that is sure to leave the knockout Beatles’ songs rolling continually through your mind for days on end.