Film Review: “Yesterday” (2019) ★★★★

aIt is even impossible to think that we live in a world that had great talents who lived and prospered but we have no idea about. Imagine for a second – you wake up, and all of a sudden, famous talented artists disappear from records like they never existed. Artists such as Elvis Presley, Audrey Hepburn, the Beatles, Queen, Whitney Houston, Toni Braxton, Frank Sinatra, Andy Williams, Beethoven, Mozart and so on. I don’t know about you but in my humble opinion, the world would be blunt, grey, and empty for us not even realizing why.

Jack Malick (Himesh Patel), the protagonist in Danny Boyle’s “Yesterday”, dreams to become a big star one day. With his truly clean and beautiful voice, participating in all the Festivals he can get for extra exposure, he is still considered as a big failure for the music industry. All these changes in one moment when Jack starts singing the Beatles’ hit song Yesterday. That’sthe moment when he realizes that he is the only person on Earth who knows about the existence of one of the biggest musical bands. With the help of his manager and long-time friend, Ellie Appleton (Lily James), the man embarks himself on an exquisite journey of reviving all Beatles’ songs to the world, making them fall in love with Beatles once again – except that they simply know nothing about it.

It starts with Malick performing a song with almost no audience listening to him. “I cannot be a star I thought I could be”, Malick says to Ellie later on the same day, right before a life-changing accident. It was a dark but calm night and he was on his bike returning home when all of a sudden strange things start happening – electricity in the entire planet went off for twelve seconds. It was the exact moment when Jack gets hit by a bus later, after being released from the hospital, he finds himself in the world as the only man who knows the Beatles’ songs and even how to sing them.

I can continue describing what happens next, the appearance of Ed Sheeran, or the charismatic agent Debra (Kate McKinnon), with a solid and well-suited last name, Hammer. And even how Ellie and Malick’s relationship began unfolding after he becomes super popular. All these are things which must be reserved for you, my dear reader, to experience whether you’re a Beatles fan or not. There’s a unique and indescribable beauty in Danny Boyle’s film dedicated to the Beatles songs that I barely can describe using any word I know. Even after seeing it twice, I still want to experience it because of its simplicity and charm which you can’t take away from “Yesterday”.

As for the performances, Himesh Patel was outstanding as Jack Malick, who brings to life all the famous Beatles’ hits through his performance. Lily James, on the other hand, is charming and laudable. Kate McKinnon steals every scene she appears in and it should be considered a non-punishable crime. The entire cast also follows the flow to turn the film into an unbelievable journey where you will never stop feeling good at any given moment when you watch it.

In the end, there is a lot we can take away from “Yesterday”. One of them is the importance of preserving a real treasure. Recognizing bands such as the Beatles is a big deal for the newer generation as some of them have never heard of their existence but should and will after watching this. That said, what do we gain by making money selling records that literally should be accessible to everyone for free? Why should we be worried about how many people listen to a new artist when the old ones are the that irreplaceable?

To conclude, with Boyle’s piece, we know one thing – what’s classic is classic. Whatever happens to the planet, The Beatles’ songs will be the ones archived and saved for the next generations to be reintroduced. Let’s not go that far and try them out by listening to the songs that were written decades ago but are still better than any top hit song we hear from Billboard’s chart.

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