By Mark Saldana
Rating: 3.5 (Out of 4 Stars)
“All you need is love. Love is all you need.” Simply, but beautifully put, these lyrics from one of The Beatles’ more beloved songs may as well have been the legendary band’s credo. It is most definitely the key theme of this film which delivers a charming love story, but also serves as a lovely tribute to the power and impact of what is arguably the world’s most influential musical group. Director Danny Boyle wears his heart on his sleeve for his latest movie and the results are absolutely irresistible. Yesterday may not be the greatest love story ever told, but it might be the greatest Beatles homage ever made.
Himesh Patel stars as Jack Malik, a passionate, but unsuccessful singer/musician hungry for a big break. His manager/best friend, Ellie Appleton, manages to get Jack some small local gigs, but usually his audiences are rather miniscule. On one fateful night, when the entire world experiences a power outage, poor Jack gets hit by a bus. Beaten and minus a few teeth, Jack begins to think it might be time for a change. However, before he can hang up his guitar for good, Jack soon realizes that after this strange phenomenon, the entire world has forgotten about The Beatles.
Worried that the impact of The Beatles will be forever lost, Jack makes a valiant effort to master and share just about every song from the band’s catalog. In doing so, people begin to believe that he is the amazing talent behind these tunes and this response leads to the fame and success Jack has wanted all of his life.
Written by Richard Curtis, Danny Boyle’s Yesterday is an infectiously charming movie that will warm hearts and have people wanting to sing along to all of the wonderful hits of the Fab Four. In order to love and really appreciate this film, though, one must be a fan of The Beatles. Otherwise, the movie will probably have mixed results. I feel that the romantic plot and songs might be enough to charm those not that familiar with the music, but that of course is no guarantee.
Still, there is just enough to enjoy in this movie besides the music. The lighthearted humor and moving emotional beats work well together. The themes of fame, fortune and the overall benefit of it all are obvious, but I still had a hard time finding any major flaws within the movies warm-hearted sentiments. And to really drive things home, all of the cast members put much love into their performances.
Himesh Patel absolutely shines with his winsome performance as Jack Malik. His earnestness is truly lovable as is his genuine vulnerability. He shares a lovely chemistry with co-star Lily James, who exudes much charisma as Jack’s manager/friend and possible love interest Ellie. SNL’s Kate McKinnon often steals tge show as Jack’s new manager, Debra Hammer, a greedy and overly ambitious business woman who atrempts to corrupt Jack’s tender heart. The movie also features wonderful and funny performances by Ed Sheeran, Joel Fry, Sanjeev Bashkar, and Meera Syal.
As Yesterday shows, love is not an easy game to play and neither is achieving fame and fortune in the music industry. Even if one should happen to fall upon a stream of gold, the swim can be rather uncomfortable and exhausting.