Director: Danny Boyle
Cast: Himesh Patel, Lily James, Ed Sheeran
Release Date: September 24, 2019
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9.5/10
Disc Rating: 8.5/10
Jack Malik was just another struggling songwriter…but that was yesterday. After a mysterious blackout, Jack (Himesh Patel; BBC’s “EastEnders”) discovers he is the only person on earth who remembers The Beatles! As he rockets to fame by passing off the Fab Four’s songs as his own, Jack risks losing Ellie (Lily James; Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Cinderella) – the one person who has loved him and believed in him from the start. Kate McKinnon and Ed Sheeran also star in this romantic rock ‘n’ roll comedy from Academy Award®-winning director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, Trainspotting, 28 Days Later) and Academy Award®-nominated screenwriter Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral, Love Actually).
‘Yesterday’ tells the magical and touching tale of struggling musician Jack Malik (Patel) and his manager Ellie (James) who also happens to be his best friend in the world, and the miraculous opportunity he’s given when an odd occurrence one night results in the entire world aside from Jack forgetting about The Beatles and their music. Unable to resist the temptation, Jack sets out to collect all of the Beatles music and lyrics possible hiding away inside his head and before long finds himself gaining notoriety and even the attention of popular local musician Ed Sheeran (himself) as he works to both build his long struggling career and bring the unforgettable music of The Beatles back into a world that desperately needs it.
Directed by talented filmmaker Danny Boyle (Sunshine, Trainspotting) from a screenplay by Richard Curtis (Love Actually) and based upon a story by Curtis and Jack Barth, Boyle does a marvelous job at the helm of ‘Yesterday’ perfectly balancing the fantasy and more realistic elements within, while always exuding heart and warmth in its tone. The film also owes a notable share of credit to the talented and perfectly selected individuals that comprise the cast including Himesh Patel (the upcoming ‘The Aeronauts’), Lily James (Baby Driver), Ed Sheeran (TV’s Undateable) and Kate McKinnon (The Spy Who Dumped Me) along with more, and nearly all offering fitting and highly capable performances in each of their respective roles that help this incredibly human film work as remarkably well as it does.
‘Yesterday’ is a beautiful, heartwarming and humorous film and a passionate dedication to The Beatles in its own right. Taking a generally silly concept and managing to find a way of not only balancing that slight goofiness, but complimenting it with some colorful characters and quite a few hilarious moments as the film has some fun with itself, while still keeping things down to earth (so to speak) in tone, never teetering into the level of ridiculous or tongue in cheek territory. The passionate guidance of director Danny Boyle helps the film to really express itself even in the simplest of shots or scenes and the perfectly selected cast led by the relatively unknown (yet certainly no less talented) Himesh Patel and the charming Lily James also helps tremendously to keep things working so smoothly. I would strongly encourage going out of your way to give ‘Yesterday’ a fair shot whenever you might find the opportunity to do so. It’s quite an endearing little film that cleverly merges up elements of fantasy, music, comedy and romance to name a few, taking a somewhat silly premise and approaching it in just the right manner and tone that allows it to form into something unique and beautiful that nearly everyone should find something within to appreciate, and fans of filmmaker Danny Boyle in particular definitely won’t want to miss out on this one.
Overall, ‘Yesterday’ is a sweet and kindhearted film that beautifully mashes up the worlds of music, comedy, romance and fantasy and takes a somewhat goofy premise then finds a perfect balance to make it work, resulting in a touching piece of filmmaking that will have audiences cheering. I can’t recommend ‘Yesterday’ highly enough. It’s a truly beautiful and heartwarming film that manages to get in touch with all of the right emotions and is definitely more than worth taking the time to check out, and only even more so if you’re also a fan of director Danny Boyle’s talented work. At the very least it should prove well worth a couple hours of your time and the price of a rental one evening where you simply want to relax with a movie that will only improve your mood and leave you feeling satisfied.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Yesterday’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.39:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks magnificent as a whole and provides a sharp, richly detailed and often quite colorful presentation from start to finish. It holds up with ease even during the darkly lit and heavily populated moments throughout and never allows anything occurring onscreen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible at any point. Overall, this is a fantastic high definition video presentation from Universal that delivers beautifully across the board and shouldn’t disappoint in the slightest.
The Blu-ray release features a Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 channel compatible) soundtrack. Please note that this review pertains solely to the Dolby TrueHD 7.1 audio presentation. This multichannel soundtrack makes a perfect complement to the onscreen fun and provides a crisp, immersive and clean audio presentation throughout. It repeatedly embraces all seven available channels in order to send the music along with nature elements, crowd chatter and plenty more making its way throughout the various speakers with regularity, and never conflicting with any dialogue or other audio elements that might be occurring simultaneously. Overall, this is a stellar Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) soundtrack that sounds outstanding from start to finish and repeatedly offers its share of additional fun to the already rewarding viewing experience.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Yesterday’ includes a nice collection of bonus content that fans of the movie should appreciate. Included on the release is an ‘Audio Commentary with Director Danny Boyle and Writer/Producer Richard Curtis’, in addition to an ‘Alternate Ending’ (running approximately 3 minutes in length) and ‘Alternate Opening’ (running approximately 5 minutes), along with a number of ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the movie (approximately 23 minutes combined) and a ‘Gag Reel’ (approximately 2 minutes). We are also treated to 3 Song Performances featuring star Himesh Patel in ‘Live At Abbey Road Studios (“Yesterday”, “I Want To Hold Your Hand”, and “Let it Be”)’ (approximately 10 minutes altogether) plus some Behind the Scenes Featurettes that include interviews/comments and discussions with the cast and crew, plus behind the scenes footage and more. The included Featurettes are: ‘A Talented Duo’ (running approximately 3 minutes), ‘Playing For Real’ (approximately 5 minutes), ‘Soul Mates’ (5 minutes), ‘Ed Sheeran: From Stadium To Screen’ (3 minutes), ‘Agent of Comedy: Kate McKinnon’ (3 minutes) and ‘A Conversation with Richard and Ed’ (3 minutes).