Yesterday

The Plot:

After being hit by a bus during a global blackout, struggling artist Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) finds himself in a world that has never heard of the Beatles.

Suddenly gaining the world’s greatest playlist, Malik begins “writing” instant classics like “Yesterday,” “Here Comes The Sun,” “I Want To Hold Your Hand,” and “Let It Be,” to name a few.

As Malik’s fame grows, so does his discontent. While his relationship with best friend Ellie Appleton (Lily James) changes, too.

Malik finds strength in truth as he realizes fame and fortune do not equal happiness.

Kent's Take:

“Yesterday” is a British style musical romantic comedy peppered with laughs, love and memorable music.

Using its silence as effectively as it does its outstanding soundtrack, this particularly proper film quickly gets the audience behind it with lovable characters and Beatles hits.

Director Danny Boyle offers viewers a patient stroll through the Beatles musical catalogue as he introduces a new generation to the brilliance of the Beatles.

Malik is a talented musician who simply lacks a big break. Yet, when he gets it he becomes an impostor by playing others’ music as his own.

Writers Jack Barth and Richard Curtis bring love, loss and honesty to a story rife with charm and laughs. What this film lacks in drama, is made up for in musical energy. In addition to Beatles standards are rousing emotional songs by Ed Sheeran.

Patel has an engaging voice and is perfect as the uncomfortable fish-out-of-water musician. A man fearful of his wish coming true as he realizes the price he must pay for success – his dignity, integrity and happiness.

Lily James glows as Malik’s unrequited love. Her innocent charm, self-assured strength and girl-next-door beauty captures viewers immediately.

This wonderful film uses the lyrics to Beatles songs to define what Jack Malik is experiencing emotionally throughout the film. This simple stroke of genius is one of many memorable moments this electrifying gem offers to those who choose to watch “Yesterday,” today!

Lynn's Take:

Turns out what the world needs now is a Beatles song. As an uplifting comedy-fantasy, “Yesterday” is full of surprises that are funny, touching and clever.

Fellow Beatlemaniacs will enjoy a sentimental journey through the Fab Four’s catalog, recalling how the brilliant big bang of John, Paul, George and Ringo shaped our lives. But everyone can relate to the catchy soundtrack and plot twists, if you are willing to suspend belief.

The reverence and affection that director Danny Boyle and screenwriter Richard Curtis have for the lads from Liverpool clearly permeates the narrative.

Curtis’ witty screenplay demonstrates why he is the British master of the rom-com – especially if you are a fan of his “Love, Actually,” “Four Weddings and a Funeral” and “Notting Hill.” He and Jack Barth came up with the story, and the high concept works well, along with his use of daffy characters that add color.

It’s not the first time Curtis has messed with time – his 2013 gem “About Time” takes liberties in a touching take on families – nor music, for his 2009 “Pirate Radio” on rogue DJs features the best rock songs of the 1960s (and one of the best credit scenes ever, with all the greatest albums flashed on screen).

“Yesterday” drives home that music is the universal language and its transformative power, not unlike the resonate John Carney trio – “Once,” “Begin Again” and “Sing Street,” connects us in the modern world.

Inserting Beatles songs into a very different, corporate-driven music business today adds an interesting angle, with Kate McKinnon sharp as a Great White Shark of an agent and Ed Sheeran a good sport.

The weakest aspect is the love story – two people who are made for each other ignoring all the signs, but the always radiant Lily James does what she can with an underdeveloped role.

Himesh Patel is a pleasant surprise as a leading man whose smart, funny and trying to figure out life as he goes along.

But the music is the real star here, reminding us how timeless it is, 50-60 years later. It’s as if a joy comet has come our way. We sure need it today.