Yesterday (2019) – Everyone Knew the Beatles

Without the Beatles, there will be no music. The world was just silence. I’ll never know who Dave Grohl, Bruce Springsteen, Damon Albarn, Noel Gallagher, Gene Simmons, Billi Joel are. I also could not listen to any garage rock bands. And besides, we will never get this film, “Yesterday” directed by Danny Boyle. In addition to music, Hollywood continues the trends of music and film into the big industry. We got “Bohemian Rhapsody” and also “Rocketman“. However, this film doesn’t go with the flow of biopic in general. Instead, it’s a fantasy and cheerful story about what if the Beatles never existed.

For Himesh Patel as Jack Malik, the amateur musician, he was trying to reach his dreams. Accompanied by his manager and childhood friend, Lily James as Ellie Appleton, Malik never got his audience; he never even got his fanbase. Feel tired of the result, he doubted whether to continue his career as a musician or not. One night, the whole world suddenly experienced a blackout. A bus hits Malik while riding a bicycle. This incident continued when his friends didn’t know who the Beatles were; when he sang one of the songs from the band entitled “Yesterday”.

His family never knew what “Let It Be” too, a song about solemn for a tearjerker. It’s one of the best songs all the time. I mean, who has never listened to “Let It Be”, even if you aren’t a fan of the band? Because of these strange events, an Isekai style, he searched for the name of the Beatles on the internet. How surprised when a beetle just appeared and not the name of the band. Jack finally decided to take over the songs from the band. However, Jack feels empty when he gains popularity; and of course, his fanbase.

“Yesterday” is a romantic drama in the style of the Beatles’ songs. If you expect this about biopic from the band, this isn’t a movie for you. But, this movie, from the perspective of fantasy, is unique. I often think of what if one of the most influential figures were never born in this world. So what’s the world like today? I mean, imagine if Alan Turing never cracked the enigma code. Maybe, I would never write this review from my computer. If there was no Alan Turing then the internet would never have existed. It’s quite terrifying actually.

Anyway, “Yesterday” has good chemistry between the two main characters. The relationship between Himesh Patel and Lily James is just beautiful yet charming at the same times. The story of the drama between the musician and the manager might be a thing to say. Between Jack and Ellie, their characters are both so convincing. Their emotions are there and it’s easy to empathize with the ambiguous feelings from both of them. And the twist of this film is Ed Sheeran playing as himself. I’ll never regret if he is in this film; he’s not just a cameo. I mean, regardless he only adds comical moments just like Joel Fry, it just adds another value to this movie.

In “Yesterday”, you got a lot of humor about the influence of the Beatles. It’s just about them, about John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Sure, I have to look at the internet as well as what Coca Cola, cigarettes, and J.K. Rowling have to do with the band. Yet, on the other hand, this is a fantasy movie. It means there are so many cliche things. It happens very quickly beside the Beatles is just another center plot device or anything. The music, well, is just a piece of music. It doesn’t affect each character or how people react to the Beatles’ songs. I mean, I’ll never forget their reaction to “The White Album”. It’s just so funny it happens but come to think of it, would we be triggered too?

“Yesterday” has a lot of potential besides adapting and taking so many references about the Beatles and British pop culture. However, this movie doesn’t dig deeper and don’t get the gems. Jack and Ellie became the center of the story; just another interesting part with cliches moments and supporting characters. It’s like a potato, the Beatles are the potato, never interesting in this film other than their songs. Come to think of it, I thought what if Tool would never exist? Would weed never exist as well? Well, you get another new idea in writing stories. I have a new title such as “Undertow”, “Lateralus”, “Fear Inoculum” or “Hooker with a Penis”. The last one is quite interesting actually.

However, I also admit this is a very interesting film. It’s not “Bohemian Rhapsody” or “Rocketman”. It’s “Yesterday”. The cinematography is, well, a Danny Boyle style. There is the melody of a familiar, cheerful, yet beautiful, but better think of is just a potato. Boyle, as a director, not only illustrates the world without the Beatles. It’s like the entire population of this world never knows there was a doomsday. Still, “Yesterday” has its own “conflict” between whether you want to introduce the Beatles or just another what-if story.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Salman Al Farisi

An Indonesian who loves to watch and read everything. A literary student who likes to write about reviews and essays on Crackdown Review. But, I just wannabe critics who love arthouse than anything.

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