Imagine a world without the Beatles? One of the greatest groups to ever to walk this earth. What would any of us do If only one person knew them, could remember every lyric, every musical note. Would you infringe on their legacy, take credit for their songwriting abilities and fame? Or would you honor them, sing on their behalf and make the world know that even though nobody knows who Paul, John, George and Ringo are, their music existed. Yesterday does a mix of both, profiting from others’ words and music but honoring the years of hard work, dedication and passion of the four. If The Beatles music was released today from so random person claiming, it’s their work would we still listen? Would we realize the greatness of each song or would it fall on deaf ears? What’s intriguing about Yesterday when I saw the first trailer, it wasn’t like any kind of Biopic we got previously (Rocketman, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Dirt) it’s more of a celebration of their music and legacy and how both have impacted the world. For the ones that do remember their music in the film, it’s heartbreaking to sing a song of theirs and have no one else recognize the band but recognize the genius behind it. When seeing the first trailer, I was excited to see this direction on a film about musicians and their music, it was refreshing. Sadly, the music, always at the forefront of the movie, takes a backseat without realizing while the main focus of the film is a love story of two people who have known each other half their lives. One just happens to be a singer songwriter with an above average voice, what a coincidence.
Jack Malik is a struggling singer songwriter playing in bars on empty boardwalks and in front of a whopping crowd of 12 people (including 4 children who couldn’t care less) at a festival in the smallest of tents. Though the people attending are digging his music, mainly Ellie, his best friend and manager who supports him wholeheartedly, his career is dying rapidly. Something needs to change, some kind of breakthrough before Jack gives up completely and goes back to teaching full time. That breakthrough comes in the form of a worldwide blackout causing Jack to get hit by a bus. Next thing Jack realizes is that he’s missing teeth and The Beatles are just an insect (beetles). The band isn’t the only thing that got erased from the world (Coca Cola, Harry Potter and Cigarettes), Jack will realize these loses as the plot progresses. It could be hard to understand if his group of friends are pranking him by not know the song “Yesterday” for which the movie is named after but, Jack soon realizes the worst in this discovery.
Jack (Himesh Patel) gets to work remembering all the music and lyrics to every Beatles song. That’s no easy task given the sheer amount of songs and albums that were released. Even with his “new” catalog of music, Jack still isn’t getting recognized until someone in a pub hands a card to Ellie (Lily James) to come and meet Jack. This, a Star is born, recording all the music and lyrics in a tiny studio owned by Gavin (Alexander Arnold) where trains pass frequently. This is some of the best sequences of the film where they appear to have the greatest time making music. The trio are just enjoying themselves when out of the blue Ed Sheeran pops up (out of nowhere) and invites Jack on his European tour with him. The world finally gets a taste of The Beatles through Jack Malik. Good thing for Jack being this insanely talented songwriter that Ed’s manager Debra Hammer (Kate McKinnon) takes Jack on as a “product” and vowed to turn him into the biggest star to walk the earth. Jack has an album release where he notices two people that he’s seen before holding up a yellow submarine. The two confront Jack and turns out, they have a little surprise for him. It’s right then and there that Jack decides to give all “his” music out for free and give All the credit to the four people who wrote all the songs: Paul McCartney, John Lennon, Ringo Starr, and George Harrison.
I thought this movie was delightful when I first saw it in theaters. Everything about the music and the recreation of it all I really dug. Going to all the iconic places like Strawberry Fields, Penny Lane and Eleanor Rigby’s grave. Although Eleanor Rigby was a fictitious person McCartney came up with, there was an actual person named Eleanor Rigby. The main focus and heart of this film is the relationship between Jack and Ellie. Their relationship at the beginning is clearly one sided as you can see the love Ellie has for Jack isn’t reciprocated back to her. You can see the hurt on Lily James face every time Jack denies her advances. Unless he stays in Suffolk, they can be together but, she had to make the hard decision to give him that ultimatum and be with Gavin instead. Gavin knew the entire time he was always going to be in second place to Jack and he was completely fine with that.
The second time watching this this film I thought Ed’s character (although he was playing himself) was a bit too cocky and arrogant this time around. Proclaiming himself the best songwriter to ever live while everyone else is just inferior. Granted, The Beatles don’t exist, but The Rolling Stones still do. I did appreciate the humbleness Ed shows when Jack wrote the better song in 10 minutes giving Jack Full praise. Another thing that bothers me on my second viewing is all the coincidence that happens with Jack Malik. He just happens to have 100 of the greatest songs ever written seemingly overnight and ready to perform. Ed Sheeran just happens to know who Jack Malik is and where he lives (possibly the funniest scene when Ed gets asked where the pickles are) which is a bit weird and stalkerish, at least to me. Another thing I find strange during my second viewing is no one at anytime during this movie questions Jack in how he just magically comes up with an abundance of the greatest songs known to man. No one asks how, just write more, see your music, become the biggest star on the planet. It was interesting to see that with the song “Back in the USSR” how it doesn’t make sense if you are writing it in today’s climate and Ed points that out, which Jack doesn’t have an answer for, he just shrugs his shoulders. Kind of weird.
Overall, I really like Yesterday, yes it has some flaws, its not a perfect film but its really enjoyable and has the ability to be re-watched more than just the original viewing. If I were to rate Yesterday, I’d rate it 3.8 out of 5.
So, tell me guys, have you seen Yesterday and if so, what do you think about it? Do you agree or disagree with me? Comment below or send me an email and let me know what you think.
Yesterday is directed by Danny Boyle is Rated PG-13 and has a 63% on Rotten Tomatoes. Yesterday was released on June 28th, 2019 and has a runtime of 1 hour and 57 minutes.
If you guys like what you’re reading, please subscribe and check out my Patreon to support the blog in different way.
*I do not own these photos used in this article; all rights reserved to the copyright holder*