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Film Review: 'Yesterday' as Unique, Charming as The Beatles

by Todd A. Smith

 

Actor Himesh Patel arrives at the U.K. premiere of “Yesterday” on June 18 (Photo Credit: James Gillham/StillMoving.net).

 

Second British Invasion 

 


Have you ever thought that you were born into the wrong generation?


Maybe if you had come up at another time, life would have been better for you and your dreams would have had a better shot of coming to fruition.


The film “Yesterday” examines how dreams coming true depend on timing and positioning and how one incident here and there can determine success or failure in an extremely unique and charming manner.


Music, which is very cyclical in nature, is predicated on timing.


Socially conscious music often thrives during tumultuous times in history.


Upbeat party anthems often thrive during the summer.


And beautiful ballads often become staples for weddings and other monumental moments in relationships.


Even if a musician has talent, striking the right chord with the public boils down to being at the right place at the right time.


Unfortunately for Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) in “Yesterday,” he never finds the right chord on his guitar to strike a chord with the music buying public.


Even when his manager Ellie Appleton (Lily James) gets Jack a gig at the Latitude Music Festival, he is relegated to the Suffolk tent and not the main stage.


Although Jack is excited about getting the rare opportunity to showcase his skills at a respected event, his audience consists of about 10 people, including a bunch of children who could not care less about his performance.


After Jack cannot get the break he thinks he deserves in the music business, he finally realizes that all dreams do not come true and there comes a time when dreamers have to wake up and face reality.


Despite Ellie’s pleas to keep Jack performing, his decision is final.


On his way home from his final gig, the world experiences an inexplicable power outage.


Unfortunately, the power outage results in Jack getting hit by a city bus.


When Jack wakes up in the hospital, he finds a world that he does not recognize.


Actually, Jack does not even recognize himself as he loses a couple of teeth in the accident.


After his release from the hospital, his friends gift him with a brand new beautiful guitar, begging him to play one song for them despite his recent retirement.


As Jack begins strumming the strings on the guitar he sings, “Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away, now it looks as though there here to stay. Oh, I believe in yesterday.


“Suddenly, I’m not half the man I used to be. There’s a shadow hanging over me. Oh, yesterday came suddenly…”


Mesmerized by his performance, Jack’s friends think his song is the most beautiful thing they have ever heard.


Amazingly, Jack cannot believe that his friends have never heard of “Yesterday,” one of the most popular songs by arguably the most iconic rock band in music history.


When Jack mentions The Beatles, friends look perplexed, not knowing if Jack is talking about the Volkswagen car or the insect.


Jack’s is even more confounded when he Googles “The Beatles” and all he finds is information about the insect.


Furthermore, Jack cannot not find any information online about the individual members of the Fab Four, which included Paul McCartney, John Lennon, George Harrison and Ringo Starr.


Not finding any information on Ringo would be more understandable.


But the Internet includes no info on Paul or John?


That is hard to believe.


Sorry Ringo, but Ringo jokes are a prerequisite to any story on the lads from Liverpool, England.


Even stranger, after the power outage, Jack cannot find any information about cigarettes and Coke, two more of his favorites from before the accident.


But when Jack realizes that maybe his music career could achieve a renaissance by covering The Beatles classics, a light bulb goes off in his head that will change the course of his life and make all of his dreams come true.


The only problem is that Jack cannot remember all of the lyrics to The Beatles’ biggest classics.


And somehow all of his records by The Beatles have disappeared from his collection after the accident with the bus and the power outage.


And obviously, Google provides no help because according to the search engine giant, The Beatles are actually beetles.


But when Jack begins performing and recording songs like “Let it Be” and “I Want to Hold Your Hand” to a world that has never heard the timeless records, he becomes an overnight worldwide sensation, landing an opening act gig on pop star Ed Sheeran’s world tour.


The music industry anoints him as the next great artist and believes that his debut album will change the music industry forever.


Unfortunately, the record company does not like Jack’s suggestions for the album name like “Abbey Road” or “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.”


The executives absolutely hate the title “White Album” because it does not encourage or embrace diversity.


Furthermore, Sheeran hates the title of Jack’s song “Hey Jude” because Jude is an old fashioned name.


Sheeran rechristens the song, “Hey Dude.”


Despite Jack’s meteoric rise to fame in “Yesterday,” he has to grapple with the fact that he is a fraud who has changed with success.


Will someone burst his bubble or will success eat him alive?


“Yesterday” benefits from good writing and good comedic timing.


Although Jack is the main character, Sheeran’s manager Debra Hammer (Kate McKinnon) takes the cake because of her brutal jabs at Jack’s appearance and lack of personality.


The most memorable scene of “Yesterday” has to be the John Lennon scene, which looks totally authentic.


Unfortunately, the power outage scene and bus crash looks a little too unauthentic and cheesy.


However, that does not prevent “Yesterday” from being an enjoyable two hours especially for fans of The Beatles’ music.


“Yesterday” shows that fame and prosperity is not all that it is cracked up to be.


Furthermore, people should be careful about what they wish for because they just might get it, for better or worse.


As the song “Yesterday” goes, “Yesterday, love was such an easy game to play. Now I need a place to hide away. Oh, I believe in yesterday.”


 

REGAL RATINGS

FOUR CROWNS=EXCELLENT

THREE CROWNS=GOOD

TWO CROWNS=AVERAGE

ONE CROWN=POOR


This article was published on Friday 28 June, 2019.
Current Comments: 0
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