Yesterday review: Worthy of the namesake?


The new feature film Yesterday (2019) draws upon the image of The Beatles, one of the most popular bands in the world to create intrigue and draw an audience in. Yet the film doesn’t do The Beatles any justice.

In what was promised to be a film full of nostalgic enjoyment for those in love with the little band from Merseyside, what was provided instead was an awkward mix of romantic comedy and strange pacing, that left people wondering if they saw the right film.

Critic's response to Yesterday
Critic response to Yesterday, picturing Himesh Patel. Photo supplied by: Corey Irwin, Ultimate Classic Rock

The question is certainly valid: was Yesterday a good film? Even in the days after watching it, I was very much on the edge of whether I enjoyed the film or not. The film did not manage to scratch the nostalgic itch that I originally hoped it would, yet there were still some quirky moments that made for an entertaining watch.

We are introduced to the focus of the film, Jack Malik (played by Himesh Patel) who is down on his luck and all but given up on his music career, much to the chagrin of childhood friend and manager Ellie Appleton (Lily James). 

Unfortunately, that’s largely where most of the plot seems to slow down. Jack is hit by a bus during a global blackout that is globally glossed over, and suddenly the world has forgotten some pop culture magnates such as The Beatles. After making the decision to recreate their songs for his own gain, it soon becomes clear that Jack struggles to continue with the guilt of his plagiarism. 

In fairness, Himesh Patel’s vocal recreation of each of the songs within the film was outstanding. However, it is frustrating that a film that utilises arguably the most popular band ever offered an eager audience just three lines of Let It Be.

Ultimately the film could be considered as entertaining at certain points, however it is very difficult to get past the piggybacking of the group’s popularity. It would be strongly recommended to curb one’s expectations of this being a movie celebrating The Beatles’ musical talents. Only then could someone go into the film and find some enjoyment from the rather odd acting of Ed Sheeran. 




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