OTTAWA’S CINEMA FOR INTERNATIONAL AND INDEPENDENT MOVIES

Yesterday

Everyone in the world has forgotten The Beatles. Except Jack.

Yesterday follows Jack Malik (Himesh Patel), a nobody singer/songwriter in a small English town whose childhood friend Ellie (Lily James) is acting as his part-time manager. Through a sudden accident, and a bit of magic, the world inexplicably forgets The Beatles. Everyone, that is, except for Jack, who starts a journey to bring the band’s many hits back to the world, just under his own name instead.

Poster for the speculative musical fantasy YesterdayThis complicated morality gives the plot its drive, but there’s rarely a moment where director Danny Boyle’s joyous tone isn’t cranked up to 11. When Jack is onstage, guitar in hand belting out classics from ‘I Want to Hold Your Hand’ to ‘Let It Be’, Yesterday is wonderfully alive. With the entire world hearing the music for the first time, bearing witness to The Beatles’ music through fresh eyes is a whole lot of fun.

But really, the film wouldn’t work without the charm of its lead, and Patel takes us on his ethical journey with stirring pathos. He and James also share an endearing chemistry, as their friendship clearly starts to turn into something more intimate. It’s the performances that turn these old clichés into something genuinely earnest and sweet.

– Matthew Dougherty, IGN

 

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