Yesterday and all the images you see in this review are owned by Universal Pictures
Directed by Danny Boyle
This may be a movie about music from fifty years ago, yet the premise is even older than that as the idea of a hapless someone getting a shortcut to fame and fortune is one of the most basic cornerstones of literature. When you take that premise and make it about something other than say measurable wealth and status (i.e. Aladdin) to instead focus on some sort of perceived skill or art form (i.e. music), you can run into a few issues; namely that you have to sell the audience on the perceived greatness of something that is rather subjective. You either have to play into the impossibility of someone ACTUALLY making the greatest music ever like with Tenacious D’s Tribute or even Fish Story, or your stuck trying to write it yourself and just ignore the disconnect (*cough* Harsh Mistress *cough*). The workaround for all that though is what we’ve got here which is a jukebox musical of sorts where the songs being played are widely considered (at least somewhat) to be the greatest of all time, and in this era where Musical Biopics are now in vogue, it was probably the best way for yet another Beatles tribute to stand out among the crowd. So then! Does this movie manage to capture the magic of that one band from Liverpool, or will this be a bigger stain on their legacy than Magical Mystery Tour THE MOVIE? Let’s find out!!
Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) is the typical struggling artist who spends his time stocking store shelves between gigs that no one bothers to see. His manager and best friend Ellie (Lily James) still believes in him and his amazing songwriting skills, but if it hasn’t happened yet then it probably isn’t going to happen and so he decides that now is the time to hang it up. The universe on the other hand has other plans for him because as he’s riding home on his bike that night, there’s a global power outage that no one ever finds an explanation for but did lead to Jack getting hit with a bus; breaking his guitar, his front teeth, and his spirit even more. After a lengthy recovery though, he soon realizes that no one remembers who The Beatles or any of their amazing songs. You know, songs like Yesterday, A Hard Day’s Night, and… others. Okay, so there were A LOT of songs, but Jack can surely remember enough of them to finally have a chance to be the musical star he’s always wanted to be! I mean these songs are culturally important and should exist in some form for the betterment of mankind, so Jack is practically doing a public service here, right!? So that’s what Jack does as he starts recording classic tracks like I Want to Hold Your Hand and Let it Be (seemingly unconcerned with the arc the band took in their music) as well as songs like Back in the USSR which sounds a bit retro now, but still jams! It takes a bit of time, but he does eventually start to get a following and it seems like all that success is just around the corner if he can just stick it out through the hardships and machinations of the music industry, but with so much changing so quickly and his loved ones seeming to get further and further away from him, is this truly what Jack wants now? On top of that, if HE remembers who The Beatles are then there has to be other’s out there too, right? Can he keep up the lies before this house of cards comes crumbling down, or will everyone be cool with it since no one knows who the fudge John Paul George and Ringo are anyway? Most importantly, is he gonna get a mediocre Hanna-Barbera cartoon as well!?