Listen: Katrina Roe and Laura Bennett chat about ‘Yesterday’ the film.
Judging by the packed cinema on a Sunday afternoon (front row included), Yesterday knows its audience.
Riding the current wave of musical movies that remerged with The Greatest Showman, and now peaking with Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman, Yesterday is 2019’s feel-good fantasy.
The movie sees struggling musician Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) strike gold, when The Beatles and their back-catalogue are erased from history after a freak, worldwide power outage. Jack is the only one who knows their work, and seizes the opportunity to reproduce it and become a global superstar. The sweetness of his fame, though, is tainted by his unique moral conundrum, and Jack has to decide whether the personal conflict is worth it.
Yesterday also asks whether or not having another’s talents would automatically give you their success too.
As Jack plays ‘Let it Be’ to his family, its genius is totally overlooked. Phones are ringing, friends are visiting, and Jack can’t handle their ignorance of what is one of the greatest songs of all time. It makes you wonder, is ‘Let it Be’ only great because of the nostalgia and history? Or is The Beatles music inherently legendary?
In an age of constant comparison it’s a good reminder to check yourself, and acknowledge that equal opportunities don’t guarantee equal outcomes.
Being a feel-good film though, this conflict isn’t overt. Yesterday favours the colourful fun of its plot instead of indulging in some of the tension – meaning the movie does stagnate a bit once the novelty wears off. But fans of The Beatles – and Ed Sheeran, who takes a small but fun cameo role – won’t complain.
Sometimes, you just have to let it be, and realise a simple life can be a good life.