Yesterday, the newest film from writer Richard Curtis (who has delivered such classics such as Love Actually and Notting Hill), stars Himesh Patel in the role of Jack. Jack, who is a musician whose career is decidedly heading nowhere, is hospitalised after being hit by vehicle and awakens to find himself in a world where The Beatles never formed. That’s right, no John, Ringo, George or Paul. No “Strawberry Fields”, no “Let It Be”, and no “Yellow Submarine”.
Yesterday follows an interesting premise that delves into the idea of the ethical decisions that Jack makes throughout the film. He chooses to pass off the discography of The Beatles as his own, abruptly gathering a following and the subsequent fame and success that follows. I’m sure, like myself, many audience members throughout the film were mentally tossing up whether they would make the same, vaguely morally dubious, choices that the character of Jack does throughout.
As with most films from Richard Curtis, Yesterday will leave you with that delightfully warm and gooey feeling. It captures the delightful British quirkiness that many of Curtis’ films entail, along with displaying a somewhat charming and awkward male as the centre stage character. Yesterday is a subtle satire of the music industry, delving into the greedy nature of today’s industry – displayed when Jack attempts to keep the memory of The Beatles alive by recreating their albums exactly. Only for the marketing experts working for his music manager to shut down his ideas as, well, bad.
Opposite Himesh Patel, who does play his part with a very likeable daftness, is Lily James – playing the role of Jack’s manager, love interest and general supportive friend. While James does play the role of Ellie with a delightfully upbeat quirkiness, her character suffers a little from being pushed into the corner throughout the film. Aside from a few moments towards the end of the film, her character could have easily been discarded from the script without losing much at all from the overall impact. Acknowledgement has to be given to Ed Sheehan, who – despite very much seemingly having no change of expression or change of tone throughout the film – must have been very agreeable to have the majority of his scenes dedicated to an almost friendly mocking towards him.
Yesterday is a tribute to the foot tapping delight that is The Beatles, a feel good film that may not change anyone’s life but is guaranteed to leave you entertained and revisiting The Beatles discography.
Yesterday is currently showing at Cinema Nova. Tickets can be purchased here.