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Read: Yesterday has great music and a cute story

If you google ‘which artist/band has sold the most records’ at the top of the list will be The Beatles. Their discography is massive, and they changed the music industry over the ten years they were active.

But. Imagine for a moment if the group and their music suddenly vanished from history and no one had any knowledge of their existence but you. 

That spooky idea is the premise of the movie Yesterday. No, it’s not a science fiction film, rather its a sweet comedy/love story that has a fleeting supernatural occurrence that sets the story off.

It begins with a young man named Jack Malick (Himesh Patel) trying to make his way in the world of music.  Problem is, though he can sing, his song writing ability is rather lame and only a tiny number of people think he’s any good. One of those is his manager and rather attractive chum Ellie (Lily James).

One night, after deciding showbiz isn’t for him, Jack gets hit by a bus at the very same time a twelve second power outage hits the entire planet.

While recovering from the accident, Jack finds out that The Beatles, their music, and a few other cultural things have disappeared and only he can remember them.

Over time, he re-creates the music and passes the songs off as his own. It’s not long before he is a world-wide smash. 

Just how Jack manages to deal with the love of his life, a heartless music industry and his intense unease about taking credit for the music of others, forms the moral heart of this story and also provides the comedy.

There are two standout stars in the film. The first is obviously the music, and Yesterday is a reminder of the enormity of The Beatles talent and influence. The group produced hit after hit and their songs crossed genres and impacted more than one generation.

The other clear star is Himesh Patel. He has a fantastic voice and his interpretations of  The Beatles music is wonderful. He also has an understated charm and a genuineness that makes you root for him. 

Patel is ably supported in this film by the rest of the cast. Kate McKinnon is a comic genius who seems to relish playing Debra Hammer (his new LA based manager) with an intoxicating mix of condescension and brutal self-interest.  

A nice addition is the casting of Ed Sheeran. Obviously he is playing himself, but he does so really well . I know that might sound odd, but remember he is delivering lines, not ad libbing. He also allows the film to gently mock him. 

Lily James’ character Ellie is perhaps the most conventional, but James manages to make her both likeable and vulnerable which provides a much needed antithesis to the grasping and ambitious Debra. 

Joel Fry provides the comic relief in this film as the bumbling yet good hearted sidekick Rocky. It’s a role very suited to him and he does it well.     

Yesterday is a nice film filled with humour, good music and interesting characters. It beings with an unconventional twist, and delivers a heart-warming fun story. 

YESTERDAY

In NZ Cinemas 27 June  2019

116 Minutes

Starring:  Himesh Patel, Lily James, Ed Sheeran, Kate McKinnon

Director: Danny Boyle 

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