Yesterday – Movie Reviews by Ry!

Yesterday – Sing Me a Song About Potential

In a world of epic blockbusters and sweeping adventures, genuine concepts are hard to come by.  Occasionally, there are films that prop up the idea of unique bravado within a film.  Yesterday takes on a concept that is unique at heart, but falls in a safe lane of storytelling.  Even when it is familiar, there is enough strength in the characters to bring some fun on the big screen.

The story follows a struggling musician who wakes up in a world where The Beatles never existed.  Being the only one that remembers the songs, this leads him on a path of fame, fortune and self-discovery.  At the heart of the story is the premise.  By mixing it with the ‘fish out of water’ theme and coming-of-age elements, it provides a starting point of something truly original.  You have Jack Malik (Himesh Patel), as he is at a crossroads of his music career.  Even as his manager Ellie (Lily James) wants him to continue, he struggles to see a purpose.  Once the plot device kicks everything into high gear, he sees a chance to perform on the big stage.  Watching Jack rise by performing The Beatles’ catalog, he struggles with the idea of being true to the art while knowing the songs belong to another.  This becomes the strength of the story, the characterization of conflict within personal motivations.  This is represented strongly because of the chemistry between Patel and James.  The honest reflection of their friendship creates scenarios of witty and comical situations.  The dialogue is raw, creating realistic layers between the humble thought of ‘knowing’ within a world that doesn’t.  In that, it bridges the intriguing concept with a genuine feeling of human value.  What is important to Jack is the music, but the rise to fame comes at a cost of revealing the truth.  As the film hits a point of true magnificence, it turns into a path of familiarity.

The second half turns into a generalization of rom-com tropes that heavily lean on the relationship of Jack and Ellie.  By leaving behind the conceptual design of the plot, everything turns into melodramatic sequences pushing along one-dimensional personas.  This creates odd situations and questionable decisions, leading to a faltering of character progression.  The buildup of the fantastical falls to the wayside for a typical love story.  The climax borderlines between trivial nonsense and genuine emotions, leading to an epilogue that will have the audience either smiling for what was or sighing for what could have been.  Yesterday is a film that had a strong start but falls into the trap of a hapless melodrama.  Even with a hope of what could be, there is enough to enjoy here.  I say it can be a fun time at the theater, but at the right price.

Full Score – 3 out of 5 (Theater Discount)

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