See “Yesterday” Today


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2019’s Yesterday, directed by Danny Boyle and produced by Working Title Films proposes an extremely interesting premise and plot that caught the attention of Beatles fans and non-Beatles fans alike. Not only is the plot gripping and intriguing, but the soundtrack, touting classic songs by one of the biggest bands of all time, makes this movie truly great. While not perfect, the director and producers deserve praise for a job well done.

Yesterday follows struggling musician Jack Malik on his quest for fame and recognition for his original music. Jack and his manager Ellie once believed that his music career could be something great, but when Jack begins to lose hope in his abilities, they decide to call it quits. One evening after a gig that no one showed up to, Malik is struck by a passing bus while riding his bike home during a global power outage. When he comes to in the hospital, Jack learns about the mass phenomenon and discovers that one of his favorite bands, The Beatles, along with many other common things like Harry Potter, cigarettes, and Coca-Cola, have never existed. He is sent into a world of confusion and concern before eventually deciding to pass off classic Beatles songs as his own. He quickly skyrockets to fame as the world’s greatest singer/songwriter and rides the wave of success to massive wealth and global fame. 

Holding the audience’s interest from the very beginning, this stunning, funny, exciting, and dramatic movie exceeds all expectations. The vibrant colors and fantastic digital effects, including a couple shots of planet Earth as the power was going out around the world, are marvelously done and beautiful to behold. The set designs in the movie are fantastic. Little details throughout the film make it stand out: Jack’s posters of Jaws and Radiohead in his room make his character all that much more relatable to the viewer.

The film is unexpectedly humorous. Many jokes and silly situations make fans chuckle during the film. Comic relief characters like Rocky and Jack’s parents add a welcome lighter tone to the story. The movie really excels at getting its audience to care about the characters and their lives. Viewers relate to and understand the turmoil that Jack is going through when he is questioning his choice to find fame off other people’s work. When he begins to feel overwhelmed with his sudden fame, audiences sympathize with him.

Boyle included an element of modern society into his directing. A lot of the songs Jack got famous for weren’t necessarily Beatles hits. Many of them were deeper, lesser known tracks that ultimately got the respect and recognition they deserved in the film, like “A Day In The Life” and “The Long and Winding Road”. 

Himesh Patel as Jack Malik is a real surprise. He relays emotion very well in his acting. His acting is extremely impressive, but this guy has some musical talent as well. He’s got an amazing, smooth voice and his guitar abilities are well-rounded as well. Lillie James as Ellie, Joel Fry as Rocky, and Sanjeev Bhaskar and Meera Syal as Jack’s parents also stand out.

While there is some amazing acting throughout the movie, there are a few other performances that really are lacking. One being Ed Sheeran. Sheeran is a musician, not an actor, and it should stay that way based on this performance. He plays himself in the movie, but he is so emotionless and expressionless that his character comes across boring and uninteresting. Another actor that really lets audiences down, as much as I hate to say it, was Kate McKinnon. Kate is a very funny actress, but her acting all bleeds together at this point. She seems to also be playing herself in every movie she’s in because her characters are really all the same. Viewers can’t tell if she’s Deborah from Yesterday or Holtzman from the 2016 Ghostbuster film. Her acting range needs some broadening because it all runs together.

A plot hole that is never explained is why do some people remember all this stuff that is now nonexistent, but the rest of the world doesn’t? The writers should have developed this before finalizing the script. 

Another flaw is how they reveal details of Jack’s backstory. The film picks up where he is a struggling musician trying to make a living, and the story moves forward from there, but several times throughout the film, it references back to Jack’s childhood to expound upon the love connection between him and Ellie. This seems really lazy and sadly, many films follow this same path. The writers should have given us more of the backstory towards the beginning of the movie because adding it in just to show the love interest between the two feels like an afterthought.

All in all, this movie vastly exceeds expectations. The acting, with the exception of a few characters, is engaging and draws viewers in. The visuals are entertaining and pleasing to the eye, and the plot is very interesting and fun to watch unfold. Fantasy lovers, fiction fanatics, and classic rock junkies who will appreciate the marvelous music written by The Beatles should watch this movie.

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