My boyfriend and I recently watched Yesterday, another movie on the long list of movies to watch that we’re working our way through while doing our part by staying inside.
For those who don’t know, Yesterday is a Danny Boyle film that came out last year, about a struggling musician who finds he is the only one in the world to remember who the Beatles were and he uses that knowledge to make a career for himself with their music.
It’s a movie that I wanted to see when it came out in theaters but I just didn’t make it. I am a fan of Beatles music and was excited for another movie that heavily featured their songs, without being a movie featuring the Beatles, the other being Across the Universe which I was also a fan of when it came out. And so I was excited for the movie to be available for streaming, and my boyfriend and I watched it for one of our recent date nights. We watched it on HBO Go, but I am sure it will also be available to rent through Amazon Prime or other services soon.
The film stars Himesh Patel as struggling musician Jack Malik, his best friend and manager Ellie played by Lily James, Jack’s parents Jed and Sheila Malik played by Sanjeev Bhaskar and Meera Syal, Ed Sheeran as himself, and Kate McKinnon as Sheeran’s manager Debra Hammer. Plus a host of characters that Jack interacts within his hometown and through his journey of fledgling success.
I am not going to give too much away, as this film has some really great moments that would be a shame to spoil. So I will just say this about the plot…
Jack works part-time in retail and lives at home with his parents, in an attempt to pursue his music career. He is ready to give up his dream of music stardom after a poor showing at a music festival. Jack tells his best friend and manager, Ellie, that he plans to quit and go back to teaching. That night, during a power outage, Jack is hit by a bus while riding home on his bicycle. He wakes up in the hospital to a visit from Ellie, who fills him in on the mysterious power outage that affected the entire world and no one seems to have a clue as to why or how it happened. Upon leaving the hospital, Ellie and other friends celebrate Jack’s return home and gift him a new guitar to replace the one he lost in the bus accident. They ask him to play and he sings them Yesterday, which they are amazed by and wonder how he could have come up with such a song. Jack thinks they are pulling his leg and it isn’t until a conversation with Ellie that he realizes something is very wrong. A quick internet search on his computer for “The Beatles” pulls zero results for the fab foursome from Liverpool, only insects. Jack realizes he must be the only one to remember The Beatles and their music, and it gives him an idea…and that’s where things get going.
I have to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, and not just for its soundtrack. Himesh Patel is brilliant as Jack Malik and he has a great voice. Lily James is fantastic, beautiful and charming in this film. I’m a fan of Lily James, my favorite of her roles being Elizabeth Bennet in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. But she was also in Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again in 2018, as well as Baby Driver in 2017. Lily James also played Cinderella in Disney’s live-action movie from 2015 and prior to that she also appeared in Downton Abbey and Wrath of the Titans. I have to admit that I have not seen anything else from Himesh Patel, but he was in the popular British TV show East Enders, and more recently he appeared in the Amazon Original The Aeronauts with Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones. Himesh also appeared in five episodes of the HBO series Avenue 5 with Hugh Laurie and Josh Gad (also on my to-watch list).
The rest of the cast is entertaining and quirky while also being loveable for different reasons. Jack’s parents are supportive but disinterested in his music and wish he would go back to a real job. Jack’s friends are his number one fans and unfortunately his only fans. Jack’s roadie is a friend whose screw-ups got him fired as a roadie from other bands, and Debra Hammer (Kate McKinnon) is what you would expect a successful Los Angeles music manager to be.
This movie has a lot of other great aspects in addition to the music. There is comedy, emotion, romance, and what I considered a pleasant reveal. So regardless of whether you’re a Beatles fan, a Danny Boyle fan, or a fan of any one or more of the cast, this is a movie for you. I for one, highly recommend it, and may even go watch it again.