Yesterday (2019) Review

Credit: Universal Pictures

I think it was the famous German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer was the one who said : “Music is the food of the soul.” If it is, The Beatles must be the bread and the water. So, Can we imagine a world without the bread and the water I mean The Beatles? I think no must be the definitive answer to this question. Writer Richard Curtis- who I absolutely love because of the films like Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral and Notting Hill- and the Director Danny Boyle- who is a great director- imagined a world just like that. And they put a struggling musician into the middle of this alternate world, which he is the only one who could remember The Beatles and their legendary songs.

In the last few years, music films’ popularity have been increased. Films like Bohemian Rhapsody and  Rocketman were fairly successful. These films’ directors choices of storytelling were traditionally biographical and Rami Malek and Taron Egerton played the larger than life characters of Freddie Mercury and Elton John splendidly. I watched both films and loved them a lot. But Yesterday has a more clever way to remind us the legend that is The Beatles without being classical. That is not a bad thing of course, but if the screenwriters and the directors try interesting new ways of storytelling, you can always count me in. Of course this does not mean that Yesterday is my favorite among the three, because it is not. But when I first saw the trailer, I thought what a great premise for a film and waited patiently for the release date. I was excited to see this film.

Credit: Universal Pictures

Then I saw the film. There is a struggling musician called Jack Malick who loses his hopes and dreams of being a musician and somehow a miracle happens. After a big blackout and a traffic accident, he realises that people don’t know about one of the most famous popular culture references like the lyrics of the song “Yesterday”. He notices that probably the most famous band of all time, The Beatles don’t exist in this reality. Then he decides to sings their songs as his own. After that, there isn’t anything unpredictable happening in the film. It turns into a charming romantic comedy, which I have no problem with and actually I enjoyed it a lot, plus The Beatles songs.

If you believe The Beatles was the only thing that disappeared from this alternative world, you are wrong. Please also imagine that there isn’t a thing called cigarette, there is no Coca-Cola, no Oasis / Wonderwall no Harry Potter. So there are many things to make lots of money, if you are one of the lucky ones who could remember that these really existed before. In his breakout role, Himesh Patel plays Jack Malik, the audience can feel the disappointment and the  frustration well. Beautiful Lily James plays Jack’s lifelong friend, manager, girlfriend. Singer / songwriter of some really catchy songs, Ed Sheeran  who stated that The Beatles were his biggest inspiration plays himself in the film. Joel Fry is Jack’s friend and he plays the comic relief character sympathetically. Kate McKinnon -who you may remember from Saturday Night Live- plays the greedy manager from Los Angeles. Robert Carlyle -one of director Danny Boyle’s favorite actors- also has a cameo in a beautiful and emotional scene, you have to watch this film even just to see his scene with Jack.

We can not see the real life The Beatles members on the screen, but somehow we can feel their presence like they were going to pop up from somewhere. Seventeen of The Beatles’ most famous songs can be heard in the film, that is probably its biggest expense. But that is also why it is great to watch the film. Great music makes great soundtrack that can make films only better. I am not going to say that you have to watch this film if you are a fan of The Beatles, because who isn’t?

Favorite Scene :

Ending montage accompanied by Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da. This scene makes you irrationally happy. This song also has a special place in my heart, because although I am a failure at being a keyboard player, Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da is the song that I can play relatively well, and no this has nothing to do with it being a simple song to play on piano.

Favorite Quote :

John Lennon : “You want a good life? It’s not complicated. Tell the girl you love that you love her. And tell the truth to everyone whenever you can.”


Gamze Akan

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