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Yesterday

In Danny Boyle’s latest film, Jack Malik plays a young singer/songwriter who cannot seem to find success. He plays in small venues with a handful of listeners (mostly his friends). One night, he is riding his bike home and is hit by a bus. He soon discovers that no one has ever heard of the Beatles, and he soon discovers what it is like to be famous as he releases their songs. From a technical perspective, the film is mediocre. There is not a lot of control over the script, and sometimes the story goes to strange places that don’t make a lot of sense. For example, there is an odd scene where Jack meets one of the Beatles that falls flat. For some unexplained reason, only three people in the world remember the Beatles. Debra, his manager who is played by Kate McKinnon, was rather over-the-top for the story. Why were Jack and Ellie never together as a couple before? The Beatle’s songs are staged in a way that doesn’t seem particularly thoughtful – I don’t think the film really tackles the question of what the world really would be like without the Beatles and their powerful lyrics. But putting all of that aside, and after allowing myself to accept the premise, the film is actually a lot of fun and very sweet. While Kate McKinnon seems a bit too wacky for the role, she is very funny in a way that is classic McKinnon. I liked Jack’s sidekick Rocky (played by Joel Fry), a completely unreliable and goofy stagehand who seems to get fired from all of his gigs. Himesh Patel, who plays Jack, is very likable in the role. And, the best part is that we do get to hear some of the songs that make it hard to imagine a world without the Beatles. I give the film a thumbs up; while it is no Slumdog Millionaire in terms of its screenplay and satisfying drama, in spite of Yesterday’s many flaws, it is fun and a charming romance story.

About Gary Burkholder

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