Of all the genres director Danny Boyle has scaled in his career, the romantic comedy is something one never expected him to come back to, particularly with his previous effort Life Or Something Like It being the least effective of his oeuvre. Yet with Yesterday, Boyle tries to dig deep into our emotions by bringing the nostalgia of The Beatles back with a script by the feel-good maestro Richard Curtis. The combination of Boyle and Curtis is potent entertainment, ideal for all kinds of audiences in any kind of situation, even if the overall effect is slightly lesser than powerful. Here’s our this week’s review for Yesterday telling you why or why not, should you watch it.
Jack (Himesh Patel) is the typical struggling singer playing at empty bars, but his luck changes when he gets hit by a bus because he wakes up in a world where The Beatles do not exist. Naturally, Jack decides to play their songs and pass them off as his own and gains instant popularity.
With the setup established fairly early in the film, Boyle sways the audiences with a vast catalog of the band’s music, and any fan of The Beatles would surely find himself humming along with all the right sentiments.
On The Upside
What works is the retro style mashing with Boyle’s typically youthful postmodern energy and aesthetics, which elevates the breezy charm of the narrative and the potential consequences of being in a world that does not contain the biggest pop culture phenomenon in modern history. The actors have brought their best game and delivered believable performances. Special mention goes to both Patel and Lily James, who predictably becomes James’ love interest but transforms her on-paper two-dimensional character into a convincingly likable object of affection. Somehow, Ed Sheeran, who makes an extended cameo, is also pretty good as Jack’s mentor, even though he is chewed and swallowed by the amazing Kate McKinnon, who plays a manager.
On The Downside
Though the concept of the film is unique and the actors and director gave in their best, the movie has its drawbacks on the screenplay front. It could seem boorish to be picky but there is one particular subplot in the film that feels unearned and something that feels like it renders cheap pathos. The middle section also sags a little bit leading to two-hour runtime, seeming 15 minutes too many.
All In All
Overall the film is a feel-good watch to make your weekend. Even if you are into Ed Sheeran’s music and not a The Beatles fan, this is a film that is impossible to hate because of the way Boyle and his team cycle through the various tracks and use them as plot vehicles than merely disposable grand moments. I’m going with 3 out of 5 stars for the film. With all the earnestness and fun that this movie commands, there really is no reason why you should not be seeing this on the big screen this weekend. Just make sure you pick a theatre with a really good sound.