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Don’t expect Abbey Road: Rashid Irani reviews Yesterday

There are just snatches of song and a paper-thin script, in this movie about a man who wakes up one day and discovers no one else remembers The Beatles.

movie reviews Updated: Jul 11, 2019 17:23 IST
Rashid Irani
Rashid Irani
Hindustan Times
Beatles,Himesh Patel,Danny Boyle
Himesh Patel is a stellar actor and singer. Sadly, the sappy storyline and pedestrian direction give the film a very B-movie vibe.
  • Direction: Danny Boyle
  • Actors: Himesh Patel, Lily James
  • Rating: 2.5 / 5

A purported celebration of the life and music of The Beatles, the first collaboration between director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) and scriptwriter Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral) never quite hits its stride.

The premise of Yesterday — what if you woke up one day and no one else had ever heard of The Beatles or any of their iconic songs — is far-fetched but, still, looked promising on paper. The film comes across merely as a serviceable musical fantasy.

A struggling Suffolk-based singer-songwriter named Jack (newcomer Himesh Patel) is suddenly the only person who remembers the Fab Four. Appropriating the quartet’s playlist, he becomes a showbiz sensation.

Expectedly, Jack’s newfound fame exacts a price. The relationship with his former manager and unacknowledged object of desire (Lily James) fizzles out. The climactic revelations at a Liverpool rooftop concert are neither surprising nor satisfying.

Snippets of cover versions of Beatles songs, among them ‘Back to the USSR’ and ‘The long and winding road’, are shoehorned into the soundtrack. A feeble attempt at comedy ensues when recording executives suggest a change in the title of a new tune from ‘Hey Jude’ to ‘Hey dude’.

In addition to his assured performance in the lead role, Himesh Patel also belts out the songs with conviction. In the role of an avaricious Hollywood-style producer, Kate McKinnon is sufficiently striking. On the other hand, the sappy storyline and pedestrian direction give it all a very B-movie vibe.

Overall, Yesterday pales in comparison to recent music biopics like Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman.

First Published: Jul 11, 2019 17:23 IST