A review of the Beatles-themed movie “Yesterday”

Over the years, British writer Richard Curtis has scripted some wonderful romantic comedies: “Four Weddings And A Funeral”, “Notting Hill”, and “Love Actually”. And British director Danny Boyle has given us such work as “Trainspotting” and “Slumdog Millionaire”.

So a pairing of the two in “Yesterday” promises much. Certainly Himesh Patel as pub singer Jack is cute and Lily James as his friend and manager Ellie is delightful as the inevitably romantic couple and, of course, the music – references to 15 classic songs – of the Beatles is simply glorious (I was in my early teens when they hit the charts and turbo-charged my adolescence). 

I struggled though with the contrived plot device: a worldwide power blackout that somehow selectively wipes the memory of 7.7 billion people and the data banks of the entire Internet while sparing those – like Jack – who were unconscious at the time.

As with “About Time” (another fanciful script from Curtis), this was just too silly for me. And, while I was happy to see Ed Sheeran playing himself, the surprise appearance of another performer seemed a bit insensitive. 

As a rom-com, it is not up there with “Love Actually” and, as a jukebox movie, it does not have the punch of recent hits “Bohemian Rhapsody” or “Rocketman”. So a feel-good movie with plenty of humour and charm but ultimately over-hyped and under-performing. 


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