Friday, February 14, 2020

Movie Review: Yesterday (2019)

Yesterday (2019) directed by Danny Boyle

Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) is a struggling songwriter and singer. He plays the pubs and street corners of small town England and can't get noticed. His manager Ellie (Lily James) is a grade-school maths teacher who drives him to gigs and believes in him and his music. One night as he is biking home from a gig (he's about at rock bottom), a world-wide blackout happens and Jack is hit by a bus in the darkness. He loses his beard and some teeth but soon discovers that the world has lost something much more significant--the Beatles! No one remembers the Beatles or their songs and even the internet has no information. Once Jack figures out this is not elaborate practical joke, he sings the Fab Four's songs and claims them as his own. He gets noticed very quickly and is soon swept up into the professional music world. Ed Sheeran (Ed Sheeran) hires Jack as an opening act. As soon as Ed's manager (Kate McKinnon) hears Jack, she works to turn him into a pop sensation. Jack agrees which means he has to leave Ellie and his other friends behind. Is it worth it for a life that is a lie?

The movie starts off wonderfully. Jack and Ellie are charming and the wacky "no Beatles" premise creates interesting possibilities and dynamics. Boyle and screenwriter Richard Curtis (of Love Actually fame) do a brilliant job capturing the magic of Beatles songs and the hollowness of the corporate music industry. The movie is a bit predictable and the ending is a little too conventional to be great. I was expecting something more for the finale but they seem to have run out of creative ideas. The film is nine-tenths entertaining, which is great by modern standards.


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