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Film Review: Yesterday (2019)

Yesterday (2019) is a modern-day film set in a fantasy situation that many people have wondered about in their dreams. Directed by Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting), this film shows a busker who’s about to give up on his ambition but lands himself in a situation that is extraordinary. After a 12-second power cut around the world, which causes him to get in a road collision, he wakes up in a world that has never heard of The Beatles. Using this to his advantage, he has a catalogue of hits up his sleeve to make it big in the music industry.

Yesterday (2019) – source: Universal Pictures

This film shines when busker Jack (played by Himesh Patel) is focus of his story. He brings a sense of charisma to the screen that can be unmatched, and creates a rounded yet extremely likeable guy. When a story like this is centred around one main character, it is vital that the character development is done correctly. I never found him to be annoying or cocky at any moment, and I also found him to be quite a smart guy who was well written overall. Whenever the focus was away from him and the main storyline, I just wanted to get straight back to him. Obviously, the soundtrack in this film is superb and Himesh does a great job to provide a lot of the music for the film.

Whilst I thought the concept and the dramatic moments were going to be the strong section, it was actually the comedy that lifted this film up. There were some great characters throughout the film, particularly Jack’s parents. This film had a sharp sense of comedy in it that I did not expect, but it worked due to the world that they set up here. It allowed the film to have some creativity when it came to the jokes, and I appreciate how original it felt.

I had several worries going into the film, mainly about the concept and how the world-building would work. Boyle does a fantastic job setting up the world after the power cut, setting up the idea that it is not only The Beatles that were forgotten afterwards. This somehow made the situation feel even more natural, and more coincidental than if it was just about The Beatles. There is a moment near the end of the film that I did not expect them to do, but makes perfect sense for that particular story. It is very touching and a moment that every Beatles fan needs to watch.

Yesterday (2019) – source: Universal Pictures
Unfortunately though, this film does not hit it out of the ball park like I anticipated it to. The problems start to hit in the middle of the film, when the film solely focuses on Jack and his career. I hate to say this, but I still do not find Ed Sheeran to be a natural actor, even when he is playing himself. He feels awkward, almost forced to act and behave in a certain way, and his best moments are when he has his guitar and performs, as that is when he is most comfortable. 
The other main aspect of the film focused on the relationship between Jack and his friend/former manager, Ellie (played by Lily James). Whilst I loved both characters and how rounded they felt, I only ever saw a connection between them that was mutual. They start to develop a romantic storyline between them, and it just felt repetitive and clichéd. There was nothing new to this particular part of the film, and nothing that hasn’t been said a hundred times before. It wasn’t badly done, but it felt forced and unnecessary. I just wanted to get back to Jack playing his music.
This film carries a great message, and the ending communicates that well. I really enjoyed the last 20 minutes of the film, because they drive the core themes of the film with it. This film has something big to say, and it succeeded at the end. There are pacing issues with the film, and I could have done with about 15-20 minutes of it being edited out just to make the film feel smoother and the story more important.
Yesterday (2019) – source: Universal Pictures
This film may not be as strong as the original concept is, but it is a sweet one nonetheless. If you are a fan of The Beatles, this is a must watch. Whilst there are problems with the logic of the world and a story that is stretched out a little too long, I appreciate what the filmmakers were going for and the characters were just too likeable to not fall for this charming story. 


Have you had a chance of seeing Yesterday yet, or are you excited to go and see it when it is released to the public? Let me know in the comments below and let’s have a conversation.

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