Yesterday (2019)

Director: Danny Boyle
Writer: Richard Curtis, Jack Barth
Cast: Himesh Patel, Lily James, Sophia Di Martino, Ellise Chappell, Meera Syal, Harry Michell, Vincent Franklin, Joel Fry, Kate McKinnon, Michael Kiwanuka, Ed Sheeran, James Corden
Seen on: 24.7.2019

Jack (Himesh Patel) is a musician, albeit not a very successful one. His biggest supporter is his best friend and manager Ellie (Lily James), but she, too, can’t make fame just appear. One night, when Jack is about ready to give it all up, he is hit by a bus. When he regains consciousness, things seem unchanged at first – until Jack realizes that he is the only one who remembers The Beatles. It seems, they never existed. But Jack still remembers their songs – and pretending they are his is his ticket to the career he always wanted.

Yesterday is sweet enough as a film, albeit nothing much to write home about. Still, with a charmer like Patel in the lead and bolstered by The Beatles’ music, it is definitely entertaining.

The film poster showing Jack (Himesh Patel), a guitar strapped to his back, walking across a crosswalk like the famous Abbey Road Beatles album cover.

Contrary to my usual habits, I saw the German dub of this film (fortunately they didn’t translate the songs, though), so it is very possible that the translation here didn’t catch all the jokes of the original. But I have definitely seen worse dubs. And while it is always a little difficult to assess the acting when the voice is done by somebody else, it was easy to see how charming Patel is – he has the right mix of earnest and suave that you need for this role.

Lily James wasn’t bad either, but she gets much less to do than I would have thought – her character just isn’t there for large parts of the film. But since the film pretty much follows the usual storytelling structure in everything, her absence didn’t disturb the romance part of it all that much – it is easy to fill in the blanks.

Jack (Himesh Patel) singing at a concert he gives on a rooftop.

I found the moral of the story very interesting. Leaving aside that the film obviously thinks that you’ll be successful if you/your art are just good enough, it has nothing to do with luck or having the right connections, no sir, nothing to see, move along, it’s all about quality, at the end it seems to call for abolishing copyright. Not in its entirety – you should still give credit to people and be honest about who originated the art in question, but then it’s yours to do with as you please. I wonder if they’d think the same if I remade their film.

In any case, it is entertaining and fun. You get to hear some good music, performed very well by Patel. In short, there are definitely worse ways to spend your time than with Yesterday.

Jack (Himesh Patel) and Ellie (Lily James) getting ready to hug each other as they meet in a hotel lobby.

Summarizing: cute.

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