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Yesterday (2019)

Genre: Romance/Musical

Rating: 3.5/5

Interesting Premise, but not up to the Hype

The film Yesterday is a bit of a love letter to The Beatles. A failing British singer, Jack, who often covers songs by The Beatles is hit by a bus, just as the world suffers an unexplained global power outage. When Jack wakes up, the world isn’t what it used to be. There aren’t cigarettes, Coke doesn’t exist, and…neither do the Beatles. Jack remembers everything.

The concept of this film is very interesting, and that’s whether it has to do with The Beatles or any other one of the things that were forgotten. Jack continues his performances, but now rather than being covers, they are received as his own original work. This launches Jack to global musical stardom. In that, it goes to show that The Beatles’ power transcends its band members but is about the music. The performance from Himesh Patel as Jack is really good. His comedic timing is impressive and the film is largely successful in its tone.

Apart from its premise, this film has little of unique to offer. Once Jack has understood what happened, the movie’s tone switches to a, mostly typical, film about the rise of a musician. Jack rakes in money, sells out shows, gets the girl and loses her all over again. What comes with fame and what is lost with it? Music companies try to control and change his music, and the fight is for Jack to be true to himself and preserve what matters most to him. I’ve seen this storyline a hundred times, so after initial promise, it lacks a good payoff.

Overall, this film is enjoyable but nothing special. Ed Sheeran is randomly a recurring character, and he is clearly not a trained actor. Kate McKinnon is pretty annoying, but Lily James is pretty good. The cinematography offers nothing special, but is worsened by some really random off-putting dutch angle shots that seemingly come out of nowhere. It’s charming enough, yet too normal. Would I watch this film again? Yeah, I guess I would if someone volunteered it. Should you watch it? If you enjoy The Beatles, go for it. If not, I’m not sure what the overall appeal would be for you.

Tony King

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