Movie Review: 'Yesterday'

John Thomas
Himesh Patel in "Yesterday."

It’s amazing what changes can take place in the time span of only 12 seconds. In that brief time, Jack Malik (Himesch Patel) was struck by a bus, rendered unconscious, was hospitalized and lost some teeth.

The rest of the world lost the memory of the famed 60s British rock group, The Beatles. Jack left his career as a teacher to preform in the musical world. He wants to become a guitar-strumming singing star. His colleague and best friend, Lily James (Ellie Appleton), is his manager, promoter and biggest fan – she believes in him.

Realizing singing is not a career option, Jack decides his recent show will be his last. He confesses this to Lily as she drives him and his equipment to his parked bicycle. Donning his bike helmet and strapping his guitar to his back, he sets out for home. That’s when the global 12 second blackout occurs – and the bus accident.

As a get-well gift, Lily replaces his smashed guitar with a new one. Trying it out in front of a few of his friends, he idly strums a song from The Beatles. His pals are overwhelmed with the beauty of the tune and praise his talent. He tries to explain that he didn’t write it, The Beatles did.

His family is almost brought to tears with the beauty of the music he plays for them on their piano. And so begins his ongoing struggle to explain the true authors of the songs and his dizzying rise to fame.

Jack reluctantly accepts his fame and notoriety, even going to the point of performing before massive audiences on huge stages, granting TV interviews, traveling the United States and hiring a new agent. Lily understands that things between them have changed and that he does need to more forward with his new life and puzzling career. Through it all, he never accepts responsibility for writing the music. When asked how he does it, he simply shrugs and replies, “I don’t know, it’s like someone else is doing it.”

The time finally arrives for release of his latest and greatest album, one that the world is anxiously awaiting. He decides the venue for this debut album should be at a seaside resort in England. This is when things begin to unravel.

There have been two people appearing at his concerts who finally confront him just before his performance. He finally has to confront himself and the fame surrounding him. Lily’s presence adds to his confusion. In the end, he does perform before the thousands of cheering fans who line the beach in front of the hotel.

Yet, this is not quite the end. The two people speaking with him have given Jack a piece of paper with an address on it, and they encourage him to go there. The address is a home at the beach overlooking the ocean. The man answering Jack’s knock at the door is startling. They speak at length and Jack leaves pondering the question of should he continue performing or return to a more quite life as a school teacher – a life that includes Lily. He eventually devises a plan to do both.

Directed by Danny Boyle (Credits:  Slumdog Millionaire,  Steve Jobs), “Yesterday”  is a “should see” film that runs 116 minutes.


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