The film, unpretentious, possesses a crazy charm that envelops us with a simple and sweet happiness. Nevertheless, we would have hoped for more Yesterday.
Yesterday’s concept is a particularly fantastic one: after a strange world power failure, a fallen musician is hit by a bus and, when he wakes up, finds that he is the only one to remember the Beatles. In order to realize his dreams, he decided to claim that he was the author and composer of music classics such as “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, “Yesterday”, “Eleanor Rigby” and “Strawberry Fields Forever”.
The comedy pays as much homage to the Beatles as Bohemian Rhapsody praised Queen and Freddie Mercury, but it does so with a touch of irony that is greatly appreciated. One cannot help but laugh when the protagonist sings “Let it Be” for the first time to his parents and their parents are completely disinterested by their son’s new tearful composition. In fact, every time the characters denigrate the work of the Beatles, believing that it is the work of Jack Malik, we laugh. The film, unpretentious, possesses a crazy charm that envelops us with a simple and sweet happiness.
Still, we would have hoped for more Yesterday. The film focuses a lot on romance, much more than what was announced in the trailer. Unfortunately, the romance between the protagonist and his childhood friend to whom he has never been able to declare his love is much less interesting than the new celebrity of Jack Malik, which rests on a terrible lie. The two actors (Himesh Patel and Lily James), although very effective in their respective roles, do not demonstrate the kind of chemistry that is generally expected of two lovers in a romantic comedy.
The musical arrangements are particularly skilful. We move very little away from the original versions, to the great pleasure of the Beatles fans. Yesterday is not just for music lovers. The idea is so original and bold that all cinephiles can appreciate this proposal, combining humour, romance, fantasy and drama. In this alternative reality, the Beatles no longer exist, but several other things have disappeared and it is particularly fun to discover them as the story unfolds.
Also, the film stretches in length. One could easily remove 20 to 30 minutes without damaging the comprehensibility of the work.On the contrary, we would probably have become more relevant. Danny Boyle’s achievement is generally competent, but his excessive use of written notes ends up annoying. Then, with respect to the presence of Ed Sheeran in the credits, it is not particularly helpful in advancing the story, but it does bring a notable comic element that alone justifies the participation of the British singer in the film.
In the end, despite its obvious small flaws, Yesterday is worth a visit, if only for its intrinsic and contagious happiness and its stunning singularity. However, be aware that you will be singing “Back in the U.S.S.R. ”, “Let it Be” and “She Loves You” hours after viewing.