Yesterday (2019)

Yesterday is a 2019 romantic comedy film directed by Danny Boyle and written by Richard Curtis, based on a story by Jack Barth and Curtis. It stars Himesh Patel as struggling musician Jack Malik, who, after an accident, finds himself the only person who remembers the Beatles and becomes famous after taking credit for their songs. The film also stars Lily James as the protagonist’s childhood friend and love interest, Kate McKinnon as his manager, and Ed Sheeran as a fictionalised version of himself.

Jack Malik is a struggling singer-songwriter from Lowestoft. His manager and childhood friend Ellie Appleton encourages him not to give up on his dreams. After a very disappointing turnout for his performance at a music festival (where its only his 3-4 friends and some kids not paying attention) he decides to give up as it has been 10 years. After Jack is hit by a bus during a global blackout, he sings “Yesterday” for his friends, and discovers they have never heard of the Beatles. After realising the world no longer remembers the band, Jack begins performing their songs, passing them off as his own.

Jack realizes that several other pieces of pop culture have vanished along with the Beatles: Coca-Cola, the Harry Potter series, the band Oasis, and cigarettes. He starts playing them at small bars and gets a record deal with a small time producer in town. After a lot of positive responses & a performance on a local live tv show, Ed Sheeran comes to visit him.  play as his opening act in Moscow. Ellie declines to join him, saying she must work at her day job as a schoolteacher, so Jack’s roadie friend Rocky travels with him instead. After the gig, Sheeran challenges Jack to a songwriting duel; he loses to Jack’s “The Long and Winding Road”. In Los Angeles, Sheeran’s ruthless agent Debra Hammer signs him to her label and engineers his rise to global fame. At Jack’s going-away party, Ellie confesses that she has always been in love with him. Jack goes back to Los Angeles and starts recording the album at EastWest Studios, but fails to come up with lyrics for the songs.

Hoping to trigger memories through association, Jack goes to the Beatles’ hometown of Liverpool, visiting landmarks such as Strawberry Field, Penny Lane, and “Eleanor Rigby’s grave”. Ellie joins him in Liverpool, and they spend a drunken evening together and kiss, but Ellie tells him she is not interested in a one-night stand. The next morning, Jack and Rocky pursue Ellie to the train station, where she congratulates Jack but tells him she cannot be a part of his celebrity life. Jack returns to Los Angeles, heartbroken. The large team behind Jack’s debut release rejects his ideas for an album title, taken from Beatles records, and name the album One Man Only, pushing his talent.

Jack persuades them to launch the album with a rooftop concert in Gorleston-on-Sea. Backstage, two fans approach him and tell him they know he plagiarised the songs, but thank him, fearing the music was gone forever. They give him the address of John Lennon, who has survived into old age, out of the public spotlight. Jack asks Lennon if he has led a successful life; Lennon replies that he has lived happily with his wife. He advises Jack to pursue the one he loves and to always tell the truth. Sheeran arranges for Jack to perform at Wembley Stadium. Jack confesses to the crowd that he plagiarised the music and that he loves Ellie, and has Rocky upload the songs free to the internet, sabotaging the record release. Jack and Ellie marry and have a family together, and Jack becomes a music teacher.

Funny, sweet and who doesn’t love the Beatles! Patel does a great job singing the songs and he also plays guitar and piano. The lead actress Lily James also comes off as being very sweet and likeable. I dug the movie though I fell asleep as I started watching it late last night and only finished the second half of it this afternoon. I give it an 8 outta 10!

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