Fun premises always raise the level of expectations for a film so director Danny Boyle's Yesterday certainly had a hill to climb right from the get go. This one slipped through the cracks for me last year in the middle of all the summer blockbusters and also since I’m not the biggest Beatles fanatic *audible gasp*. However when thinking about releases that I should visit later on, it still maintained my curiosity. The movie starts out solid as it wisely doesn’t push too many hits right away down our throats (reason might be the high sync costs) but slowly it has a realisation that there really isn’t a proper character arc.
Yesterday’s beginning very much is the strongest part which is thanks to the really great base idea for a film that this iconic songwriting is suddenly wiped out from the planet but only one remembers it. We get introduced to indie musician Jack Malik (played by Himesh Patel) and learn about his close circle. He has music in his heart but not necessarily the x-factor to write a hit. Performing with just an electric guitar is a bit awkward to watch so the movie picks up the pace when he starts playing tunes from The Beatles, all of those songs are used very effectively from the start to the end.
Jack’s arc along with his friend/manager/love interest-ish Ellie’s (Lily James) is rather disappointing taking in the fact that with songwriting and artistry, there’s so much to pull from. The rom-com aspect doesn’t ever quite work, actors’ chemistry isn’t there and neither is the dialogue which gets sappy real fast. During Jack’s short journey as a pop rock star, he gets involved with Ed Sheeran. Sheeran plays a weird version of himself instead of, you know, being himself and his line delivery isn’t natural at all. He is one of the many music industry cliches that pop their heads in, everyone in the music business seems like an outline and not like a person.
Smileys: Premise, soundtrack
Frowneys: Characterisation, Ed Sheeran, dialogue
Some funny moments, some half-cooked melodies.