Danny Boyle clearly doesn't need James Bond to urge his fans to go to the theatres and watch his films. He has got Yesterday in his palms as he tries to recreate the magic and fervour that the British band brought together during their heydays. Right from some of the finest lyrics to contributing majorly to the family rock and roll genre, The Beatles really did shape up an intricate part of the music industry, as we see today. Richard Curtis Says 'Yesterday' is Ed Sheeran's Story
But would things have been any different if the four, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Ringo Star and didn't plan to team up and create The Beatles? That's exactly what Boyle explores in this film that surrounds the life of a mediocre 27-year-old struggling British singer, Jack Malik (Himesh Patel), who is the only one to remember the band after a freak cosmic episode takes place all over the world. Did Boyle manage to bring back the Beatlemania? Did Himesh Patel with his renditions of the Beatles songs work like a charm on us? Read on to find out!
The film begins with Jack Malik, a struggling singer, performing for an audience of barely a handful, who aren't even completely focussed to his music. Well, except for his loyal friend/manager Ellie (Lily James) who goads him and continues to cheer for him amid a bunch of sad crowd. After a few failures, Jack finally decides to give up his music because let's face it, he's not heading anywhere close to where he would like to see himself. However, thanks to a freak cosmic episode where he encounters an accident, it costs him two of his front teeth and some bruises. Yesterday Trailer: Danny Boyle's Latest Outing Explores A World Without The Beatles And How One Man Tries To Bring Back The Beatlemania
Meanwhile, the world also loses all the memory of the Beatles. Everyone, except for him. He tries to use The Beatles references and even croons to the track, Yesterday, but gets teary-eyed responses from his friends who assume the song to be his creation! He checks on Google but all he can find are "beetles" instead of The Beatles. Surely, something strange happened after his accident but he is unable to put a finger on it.
The Beatles is not the only thing the world has forgotten! Coke (a reference to Pablo Escobar also pops up), Harry Potter and a lot of such pop culture fancies have gone AWOL to the world! Of course, Malik's ability to come up with phenomenal tracks (or rather renditions of the tracks) brings forth various fans, including Ed Sheeran. In fact, after a tiny face off, Sheeran even proclaims Jack to be the best musician out there! Several references to The Beatles including a certain cameo of one of the Beatles (mentioning anything beyond this would only lead to spoilers) is nostalgic, something that Danny Boyle along with writer Richard Curtis expect us to emote. To a certain extent, yes, the nostalgia does creep in as we are all transported to a time when the Beatlemania took over the whole wide world!
However, the mania doesn't stay for long as it subtly turns into a romance drama. Sure, you see Jack and Ellie and you wish that they get together somewhere down the line. Boyle brings together some of the coolest tracks from The Beatles ranging from Let it Be to Yellow Submarine to Hey Jude (tweaked as Hey Dude, courtesy Ed Sheeran). Having watched two musical dramas in the recent past including Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman, I can certainly judge well when the songs bring back memories, nostalgia or even make me overwhelmed. Sadly, Yesterday doesn't make it happen. Sure, the references to the songs or even the band make our hearts warm. But overwhelmed is not the word I can use for this film. Boyle has done a good job to prove that he is more than 007 helmer. Perhaps the writing by Curtis or them together don't add up to recreate the magic of the Beatles. Danny Boyle’s Yesterday, a Film Inspired by the Beatles, to Release in India on July 12
Himesh Patel and Lily James as Jack Malik and Ellie are phenomenal. They look cute, their camaraderie is adorable and their transition from friends to more is also very well built. The supporting leads have also done a fabulous job. Ed Sheeran as himself has literally let the writer play with his stardom as there are several jibes taken on him by himself! Kate McKinnon as the saucy tongued manager to Sheeran (fictional) and later Jack Malik, beautifully encapsulates the politics that run in the veins of the music industry. She is bold and honest with her performance. McKinnon as Deborah does not fear to reveal the truth that the artists generally suffer from while the managers take home the big bucks. It's a performance-driven film if anything.
- Good music (no doubt there)
- Great performances
- Scintillating cinematography
- Exceptional picturisation of England and LA
- Snarky humour
- Lacks the Beatlemania
- Loses focus of the plot in the film
- The film shows that the world would run even without the Beatles as opposed to the message that the maker originally wanted to share (perhaps?)
- Lacks the punch of a musical
Boyle's attempt to make a musical fantasia with an added benefit of romance and the Beatles is a decent watch. We can't really call it a phenomenal picture as it does lack the punch. But it's a one time watch if you're a Beatles fan. At least the basic Wikipedia-centered plot of the life of the Beatles is not there in this film, luckily!