Review by Mr. Will Wong
Imagine a world without the music of John Lennon. Yesterday, the latest effort from Academy Award-winning Filmmaker Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) examines this fantastical notion. We follow struggling Singer/Songwriter Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) managed by his childhood friend Ellie (Lily James), who wakes-up after an accident to realize that the world never had heard of things that have had a massive impact on the world like Coca Cola and well, The Beatles.
Quickly capitalizing on this, he passes their catalogue as his own, drawing the attention of Hitmaker Ed Sheeran (as himself) and this leads him to a new manager in Debra (Kate McKinnon), propelling him to verge of international success. Ellie, who has harboured feelings for Jack for many years, finds herself torn as Jack’s dreams come to fruition, pulling him further away from her. Jack must cope with his conscience as his creativity is questioned, just as his album – deemed to be the greatest of all time – is about to be released setting him up for a life of riches and fame. At what cost is Jack willing to fulfill his dream if it means losing “the one”?
What YESTERDAY lacks in plausibility, it makes up for in charm and Boyle‘s polished vision. The Filmmaker delivers us something lighthearted and sweet. We feel things happen maybe a bit too easily at times and we wanted it to go a bit further into Jack‘s integrity struggle and also his feelings for Ellie.
Patel shines in the Film’s musical numbers giving Sheeran a run for his money even, though we wish Richard Curtis‘ Screenplay gave him a bit more explore to Jack‘s journey and his range beyond just the musical bits. We don’t feel he had anywhere near as much fun as he should with Jack‘s Cinderella story. Fame and greatness was his dream after all! James commands the screen with grace, although we wish she was given more than the girl-in-waiting and we don’t understand why her Ellie gives Jack an ultimatum when he and she could have it all. McKinnon adds a comedic energy that gives the Film a much needed lift at the risk of being over-the-top.
Universal Pictures Canada release YESTERDAY Friday, June 28, 2019.