Yesterday was finally able to go out and see one of my most anticipated movies of 2019, "Yesterday". I talked about it on the pod, I wrote about the trailer, I love Danny Boyle as a director, I am a big time Beatles fan, as I said on the pod, I think they are the greatest band ever, and I really, really wanted to take my dad to see it. I bought tickets for us, and we went, and this movie more than lived up to my personal expectations.
I saw the tepid response from critics, and that is exactly why I don't let critics dictate which movies I go see. I knew that I wanted to see this movie, and I was pretty sure that I would find myself enjoying it. I was right. "Yesterday" is one of the better "feel good" movies I have watched. After watching it I was happy, in a good mood and I wanted to listen to nothing but the Beatles, and the soundtrack, to the movie.
For starters, Himesh Patel, who was the main character Jack, was outstanding. I have never seen him in anything before this, but he absolutely blew me away. For him to show the angst, guilt, confusion and illusion of fame the way he did was tremendous. I mean, imagine waking up in a world, one in which you are a struggling musician, and finding out that no one but you knows who The Beatles are. How would you deal with that scenario? I know that I for one would have trouble remembering all the lyrics. But, to see Patel decide to claim them as his own, then become famous overnight, then have to deal with everything that comes with fame, it was a great job on his part.
Also, the thing the critics seemed to have the most problems with, I enjoyed the love story. Sure, I will always take more Beatles songs over pretty much anything, but this is a big Hollywood movie, and love stories are the name of the game. And Patel's love interest, Ellie, was very well represented by Lily James. James has been in a good amount of some of my favorite recent movies, most notably "Baby Driver", and she is nailing it. In "Yesterday" she is Jack's manager, driver and producer, but she is also in love with him, and has been since they were kids. She is vulnerable and wants him to love her back, and she does such a good job. Joel Fry, as Rocky, was hilarious and fun the whole time. He was the true comic relief. Jack's parents were great and believable. Ed Sheerhan, as kind of a stylized, arrogant version of himself, was great. Kate McKinnon was evil and villainous and hilarious. The cast was just tremendous.
What I think I loved most about this movie was how they showed the current generation reacting to hearing Beatles music for the first time. When Jack gets released from the hospital and he plays "Yesterday" on an acoustic guitar, his friends are blown away. They have never heard anything like it before. They are crying at how beautiful it is. When Ellie hears Jack play songs like "I Saw Her Standing There", or "All You Need is Love" or "And I Love Her", you can she her love for Jack grow and grow, and she wants him so badly to love her like the lyrics in the songs do. When Sheerhan, in a great scene, challenges Jack to a "song off", and Jack comes back and plays "The Long and Winding Road", he is so moved he calls Jack Mozart, and himself Salieri. It is remarkable. When McKinnon gets a hold of him, she decides that, since she claims he doesn't have the right "image" yet, that they are going to release his genius to the world one song at a time until they get his look right. To see his likes and retweets and the amount of followers go up and up and up, it is truly how we consume music nowadays. When he decides, the day before his album is to be released, to play a concert on the top of a hotel, his version of "Help" is not only a great, sped up version of the song, it holds so much more meaning because of how much he is struggling with what he is doing. When, in a great one scene moment, Lamorne Morris, who plays the head of A and R at the music company, goes on his spiel about getting the buzz out on social media, and finding the right album title and getting Jack's look just right, and the pictures that surround him and all the yes men and women around the table, it is too perfect.
"Yesterday" is a wonder of a movie. I loved every single second of what I watched. I cannot wait to see it 4, 5, 6 more times. I will buy it when it comes out on Blu Ray. I have already been telling my wife how great it is, and how much I can't wait to show it to her. This movie is the perfect movie for Beatles fans. But, I also think it is a great movie for anyone that loves music, and for people my age, and also my father's age. To all the parents that played Beatles music for their now grown up kids, go out and see this movie together. I think seeing it with my dad made it that much more enjoyable. I cannot recommend this movie enough. Please go see it.
Ty is the Pop Culture editor for SeedSing and the other host of the X Millennial Man Podcast. He is unaware that adding Beatles music to a movie will automatically make it good. Check out “Across the Universe” to see how adding the Beatles can not save the most terrible of films.
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