Wednesday, 7 August 2019


Universal Pictures

What would a world without the music of The Beatles look like? Well, there'd be no Oasis for starters, and for some reason there wouldn't be any Coke or Harry Potter either.

That's the state of the world in director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Richard Curtis's Yesterday, in which struggling musician Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) awakens from a cycling accident and realises that no one – not even Google – has heard of John, Paul, George and Ringo. What to do? Cash in, of course.

Super-stardom beckons when fame – and Ed Sheeran – literally come knocking at the door of this nobody who is now, apparently, the greatest musical wordsmith of all-time. But guilt, impostor syndrome and matters of the heart – Jack can't decide if he's in love with his long-time best friend and manager, Ellie (Lily James) – keep Jack from grasping fame ("the poisoned chalice" as his new American manager, Debra Hammer (MVP Kate McKinnon), describes it) with both hands.

Not a jukebox musical of the Fab Four's greatest hits, nor a full-on romcom – indeed the romantic subplot is the film's least interesting and least successful element – Yesterday is everything a truly great Beatles song isn't: safe, bland, and forgettable.

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