Film Review – Yesterday (2019)

Title – Yesterday (2019)

Director – Danny Boyle (Trainspotting)

Cast – Himesh Patel, Lily James, Sophia Di Martino, Harry Michell

Plot – After a strange worldwide occurrence, struggling English musician Jack Malick (Patel) discovers he’s the only person left alive that knows who The Beatles are and uses that to launch his musical career.

“You need serious psychiatric help”

Review by Eddie on 21/11/2019

I’ve feared for a long time now that the peak of Danny Boyle the filmmaker had long been past and Yesterday just further confirms the sentiment that I wish was not the case.

Responsible for some of the most talked about and energetic films of the last 30 years, from his classic Trainspotting, zombie fueled adrenaline rush 28 Days Later, Sci-Fi masterpiece Sunshine and the Awards showered Slumdog Millionaire, Boyle had deservedly been recognised as one of the industry’s brightest directing talents but on the back of some genuinely forgettable efforts like Steve Jobs, the downright bad Trance, the ill-advised T2 Trainspotting and the failed new Bond movie, Boyle has found himself in a career funk that doesn’t find itself relived by Yesterday.

The type of film that on paper sounds like the dream project for Boyle, a wildly inventive narrative conjured up by Richard Curtis that sees the world forget about The Beatles and Himesh Patel’s dullard wannabe musician Jack Malik somehow remember them and take his career to new highs on the back of it, Yesterday should be a return to form for Boyle but its strange lack of enthusiasm and by the book construction, that mostly ignores the repercussions of a Beatle-less world, makes it a far more forgettable experience than its plot-line would suggest.

There’s none of that creative flair on show here from Boyle that was a staple of his best works and while Beatles fans are sure to get a kick out of its adoring fanboy take on the Fab Four, most viewers will be left wishing for more as Malik sings his way into superstardom and somehow ignores Lily James (the films MVP) beautiful and loving Ellie that forms the centre of Yesterday’s attempt at rom-com.

This component of the film goes a long way to ensuring Yesterday remains mostly lame throughout its entire runtime, as it becomes increasingly frustrating just how bland Malik is for the films entirety, there’s no real charisma here on show from Patel and the fact he seems oblivious to Ellie’s clear affections makes us not pine for them to be together, there’s no real spark here that exists in other Curtis penned UK classics like Love Actually or About Time.

We as an audience are supposed to be rooting for Patel’s rise up the ranks from a nobody to a huge somebody as he conquers the world and finds love along the way but it’s hard to care to much about him after he fails to win over our affections early on, while his so-so renditions of Beatles classics will just make you wish you were listening to the real thing.

Final Say –

Mostly misusing a great central concept, Yesterday is a generic and tame romantic comedy with very little creative magic or chemistry, marking this down as another Boyle film that sits very far from his best work.

2 Hey Dudes out of 5

12 responses to “Film Review – Yesterday (2019)

  1. Nice review! I haven’t read any enthusiastic reviews of this movie, it sounds like a wasted opportunity… That’s a shame because, as you correctly pointed out, Danny Boyle is capable of making great movies!

  2. I agree. A tame love story. The concept was preposterous, but I enjoyed myself for the most part because I’ve always liked the Beatles, and it was cool to see John Lennon in the end. I wasn’t expecting this to be anything with depth. My favorite scene was when Patel’s character embarrassed Ed S. for winning the best song contest at the party. Not a fan of Mr. Ed.

  3. I think this is one where your expectations going in are really important. Based on the trailers I expected it to be a generic rom-com, and I left feeling it was quite creative for a generic rom-com.

    I’ll disagree in part on the relationship. I liked that there wasn’t a big fight or a big mess-up on Jack’s part, but rather a believable communication gap between a potential couple.

  4. I read your review than watched the movie. I still held out some hope that maybe it would be good. And there were pieces that were creative, and I could see the vision in mind..but it just fell flat. The two MCs lacked…chemistry…of any type. I’d agree it was all very “meh.” The only character who had a bit of spice/personality was the antagonist…the evil marketing director haha. But unfortunately she didn’t have a lot to play off of.

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