If you enjoy British comedy and know who The Beatles are, your 2019 summer date night movie dreams are coming true.
Yesterday introduces us to struggling-artist-turned-international-superstar Jack Malik, played brilliantly by Himesh Patel. The entire film is well-casted, in fact, with Ed Sheeran playing a caricature of himself that rounds out an ensemble of adorably awkward characters that play opposite the stereotypically aggressive music executives that crop up once Jack is discovered.
British comedy’s signature cringeworthy interactions comprise the majority of the film’s dialogue, which I found to be rather dominating for a movie about music. For Patel’s talents and of course the gold mine of songs, I was left wanting to actually hear more of the titles I saw Jack scribbling on sticky notes in an attempt to remember the music that most of the world had forgotten.
Oh, and there’s that: the film’s entire basis is that most of the world has forgotten some of its most beloved musicians, among other things. So, from the get-go, we realize this is going a fun romp through an alternate universe, which makes forgiving its shortcomings a bit easier. Kate McKinnon’s take on the hot-shot manager of Ed Sheeran fell short of being as funny as I’d hoped, and Lily James as Ellie, the friend-zoned girl, was a Hallmark-movie-caliber plotline.
The one shortcoming I cannot quite get over was the cameo by one of the band members behind the film’s soundtrack. I will withhold any spoilers, but it was the one time during the film that I thought it got a bit too silly, if that’s possible for a world in which people do not have an alternate for Pepsi.
In all, that’s not to say the movie wasn’t a sheer delight overall. It was. Its humor, color, textures, and treatment come together in a way that was effective in drawing me into this unlikely world of accidental superstar Jack Malik. The film is a solid choice for folks who want a few laughs and an escape from the heat of summer, which I think was the goal of the whole thing—when the meteorologist is saying here comes the sun, get a ticket to ride to the theatre for Yesterday.
By Shanna Lockwood