Yesterday (2019)

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A struggling musician realizes he’s the only person on Earth who can remember The Beatles after waking up in an alternate timeline where they never existed.

Danny Boyle is a pretty great director, and definitely versatile.  Check out A Life Less Ordinary, Trainspotting and 28 Days Later, or The Beach for excellent examples of his varied work.  He seems to have a very good understanding of his characters, and knows exactly how to bring those characters out in his actors performances.

Of course, that’s all impossible without a great script or source material, and Boyle has had the opportunity to work with some fantastic scripts.  In this case, the script comes from The Simpson’s alumni, Jack Barth and Richard Curtis of Love, Actually and Four Weddings and A Funeral fame.  While Curtis’ work, is not something that usually appeals to me, there are select titles within his filmography that do.  War Horse is one, and Yesterday is now on the list.

The premise is pretty simple.  An aspiring musician and massive Beatles fan, wakes up to find that the band (among other cultural icons) never existed, yet he can remember their music, so capitalises on that, by passing the songs off as his own, and becoming hugely successful in the process.

Yesterday is a love letter to The Beatles, and a look at how important they are to music and culture in general.  The movie as a whole is refreshingly original and entertaining, with well developed characters and a storyline that flows well.

Starring Himesh Patel in the main role, with a supporting cast filled out by Lilly James and Ed Sheeran among others – the film is thoroughly enjoyable, but my main take away was a reminder of how great The Beatles are.  I’m not a “super fan”, I own a couple of greatest hits collections, but the music used throughout (although, not Beatles originals) reminded me of the depth to the bands catalogue, and just how many great songs they had.

There is an ongoing romantic storyline throughout the film, but for me, that was secondary to the music.

This is a great film.  I highly recommend it to all fans of music and film alike.

9/10

Rick Trewin.

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