Yesterday: A Heartwarming Beatles Tribute Wrapped In A Love Story
Movie Review by Anirudh Madhav (Rocheston Certified Movie Critic)
There is something uncomforting, yet equally refreshing about Yesterday. Whether you are a diehard fan of some of their hits like ‘A Hard Day’s Night’ which opens with the THRUM! of the electric guitar or ‘Let it be’ which sends you into a dreamy rapture, The Beatles have definitely imprinted on the music and movie culture. While it is hard to imagine a world without their music, Yesterday is a warm movie that brings to life the magic of The Beatles even in their stripped-down versions, brilliantly performed by Jack (Himesh Patel).
The premise of Yesterday is simple. Jack is a struggling musician teacher who has Ellie (Lily James) as his fan (apart from a few kids at a music festival), best friend and a manager. A strange cosmic event across the world wipes out existence of The Beatles, and several other things that are revealed over the course of the film. Jack is the sole human who remembers The Beatles and their songs, and rises to fame with his godsent gift.
There are several light-hearted moments in Yesterday such as Jack’s parents who can’t seem to concentrate while he is playing ‘Let it be’ or when his friend objects to his claim that ‘Yesterday’ is the greatest ballad ever. The strength of the movie is Richard Curtis’ script which touches upon the idea of how millennials would react, if The Beatles had released their songs now. There is also a hilarious sequence where Ed Sheeran suggests changing the lyrics of the songs from ‘Hey Jude’ to ‘Hey Dude’.
Jack (Himesh Patel) carries the weight of the movie on his shoulders with his soul-stirring voice, recreating the classics of The Beatles. There is sense of originality when he sings the songs, and even mellows down on the tune of ‘The Long and Winding Road,’ which leaves us asking for more. In the latter half of the movie, it tends to drift to Jack and Ellie’s relationship. It is less complicated and doesn’t take conflict or a barrage of emotions for Jack to realize that Lily has been in love with him since they had met. Director Danny Boyle’s take on their relationship and emotions are subtle, yet touching. A special mention to Rocky (Joel Fry) who sticks around as a chirpy friend, while Jack is drowned in confusion and pressure, and evokes humor with his terrific screen presence.
Though there seem to be a few clichéd moments towards the end, Yesterday’s flaws can be overlooked for the original rendition of the classics, for imagining the cultural impact and void left by an iconic band. The movie is obviously a tribute to The Beatles that is buttered with a mix of fantasy and a romantic storyline that makes us revisit some of their greatest songs.