First things first. What actually happened to The Beatles ? I mean, in our recent offering ‘Yesterday’, we’re supposed to believe that some weird electrical glitch removed all traces of the Beatles from global memory banks - apart from one (or more ?) favored individuals. But then, John Lennon turns up. What happened to him ? Did he forsake music completely ? Did he try and make it, and then fail ? Most importantly, where was Paul ? And why did these adjustments to recorded history bother me so much more than the ending of ‘Once Upon A Time in Hollywood’ ?
In truth, Yesterday was actually a very simple ‘Boy Meets Girl’ story, which is not surprising given it comes from the pen of Richard Curtis (Four Weddings, Notting Hill, Love Actually). You know, it’s one of those boy meets girl, boy and girl have immediate chemistry that means everyone in the known universe knows they will be together in the end, except of course they don’t see it till the very, very end. In fact, the biggest surprise in this movie might be that Hugh Grant doesn’t play the aspiring musician Jack Malik. (Then again, if you’ve seen ‘Music and Lyrics’ you’ll know why he was a non-starter for this role.)
Sarcasm aside, Yesterday is funny, warm, and very feel-good. It would be hard not to be with all those Beatles songs peppered around the soundtrack. And whilst I would never look to this kind of thing for the stand-out acting performances, I have to say that Himesh Patel was excellent in the lead role. Not only does he deliver just the right blend of cynicism and wry wittiness about his faltering career, but he is a brilliant performer, and - dare I say it - brought something new to some very familiar songs. His desperate, raucous rendition of ‘Help!’ on a hotel rooftop (see what they did there ?), just when things seemed blackest to him was memorable. I’d personally like to see more punked-up Beatles covers.
Pleasant enough, charmingly funny, great music delivered well - what’s to dislike ? Ed f***ing Sheeran perhaps ? Nah. Oh I believe in Yesterday.