Review: Yesterday (2019) — What a waste of a great concept

yesterday movie still himesh patel
yesterday movie still himesh patel

Yesterday – Movie Review

Review video

Written review

Man, their songs are still so good but too bad this movie is garbage.

Yesterday is about a struggling musician named Jack Malik who gets hit by a bus one day and when he wakes up, he finds that certain things are erased from existence including The Beatles.

If you don’t know who The Beatles are, you should shoot yourself. I’m kidding. The Beatles are only the most popular and influential rock band in music history. They wrote and recorded some of the greatest songs ever. If you went into the movie not knowing The Beatles, you’ve definitely had a lot of question marks while watching it.

Okay, back to the synopsis of the film. Nobody on Earth remembers the music of The Beatles except for Jack so he decides to take the opportunity and perform all of their songs as though he’s the one who wrote them.

Imagine a world without The Beatles – what a great concept for movie right? Disappointingly it has gone completely to waste as the film shows no ambition of fully utilising that idea. Not only the film did not turn out to be as deep or fun as I was expecting it to be, it’s not even a good formulaic chick flick. It’s so fucking simple and has zero depth.

It’s directed by Oscar-winner Danny Boyle, who did great films such as Slumdog Millionaire, 127 Hours, Steve Jobs, Trainspotting and many more. How did this happen? It can’t be all the screenwriter’s fault. It’s written by Richard Curtis who wrote for many rom-coms such as Bridget Jones’s Diary, Love Actually and About Time.

Anyway, the effects of a world without The Beatles are never truly explored. Like how different would the music and pop culture be today if The Beatles never existed to influence the great musicians and bands that came after. But no, nothing changed in this world it seems. Ed Sheeran still exists to appear in the movie.

The less than half-hearted attempt to depict the moral dilemma of stealing The Beatles’ songs is pathetic as well. They simply decide to make the film a romance comedy that’s super typical and the romance itself is not convincing or even makes sense.

At the beginning it seems as though the film doesn’t even know its own purpose. But as soon as it’s clear that it’s going to be a cliched rom-com, I could already predict the ending and even the song that they’re going to use at the romance climax.

Sorry if I get a bit spoilery. I’ve never felt this pissed off at a movie in a long time.

Himesh Patel, who plays Jack, can sing. His short renditions of The Beatles’ songs are good. But his role is so weak and lacks of charm. I’m not even sure if it’s his performance or the writing.

The love interest played by Lily James is just so badly written. She goes from a long-time supportive friend-cum-music manager of Jack’s to a secret admirer who wants him to choose between career and love.

In the first act, she tries so hard to help Jack to become a successful musician and even tries to convince him not to quit. Then suddenly later on in the film she doesn’t want Jack to pursue his career, she wants him to stay in their little town and she also complains that he changed? But Jack doesn’t really change at all in the story. Fame and money never really changed him. That’s a whole other thing that the film does not explore.

The only thing the film does explore is the dark side of the music business today. And even that is lazily laid out. SNL’s Kate McKinnon, with her usual style of comical acting, plays a big time music manager and her role is to blatantly show how evil the music industry is. The villain is the music industry, not that stupid inconsistent girl. Wow, I haven’t seen this before.

The film is not even really a musical. Unlike the 2007 film Across the Universe, I don’t think any of the songs here are performed fully and they keep getting interupted by lame dialogues and humour. I admit. I did laugh at some parts but only ’cause it’s so fucking stupid.

The ending tries to be like the ending of Begin Again (2013) but it doesn’t work at all for me ’cause I don’t remember if the film even clarified whether or not Spotify exists.

The surviving Beatles, Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, did not make any cameo appearance in the movie. The trailer kinda misled me into thinking they would. Instead the film has a surprise that I thought is just as nice but it could’ve been so much more. Another good idea goes to waste.

Anyway, to summarise, Yesterday is an utter disappointment. A total waste of a great concept and it’s not even a decent rom-com.

*Rating is given in the review video above. Please watch it, give it a thumbs up and subscribe the channel if you haven’t already. Thanks for your kind support!

yesterday movie poster malaysia keyart

Genre: Romance comedy
Running Time: 117 minutes
Director: Danny Boyle
Screenwriter: Richard Curtis
Cast: Himesh Patel, Lily James, Kate McKinnon, Ed Sheeran

Malaysia Release Date: 27 June 2019
Rated: P13
Local Distributor: (no info)
Production: Working Title Films, Decibel Films

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