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Posts Tagged ‘Sophia Di Martino’

Himash Patel

“YESTERDAY” My rating: B-

116 minutes | MPAA rating: PG-13

As gimmicks go, “Yesterday” has a killer.

A struggling Brit musician gets creamed in a roadway accident and wakes up to a world where no one has ever heard of the Beatles. He starts performing all those great songs (like the rest of us, he’s committed them to memory) and is hailed as a pop music genius. Only problem is the guilt he feels for getting rich and famous off the talents of John Lennon and Paul McCartney, who apparently never existed.

The big question here is whether “Yesterday” has anything to offer beyond its clever premise and its collection of gobsmackingly great Beatles tunes.

Kinda.

As written by Richard Curtis (“Love Actually,” “Pirate Radio”) and directed by Danny Boyle (possibly the most diversified filmmaker working today), “Yesterday” is an affable romantic comedy/fantasy with a nice star turn by  Himash Patel (a British TV actor making his big-screen debut). Patel not only embodies an in-over-his-head innocent but has the pipes to deliver in the musical sequences.

We meet our hero, warehouse worker Jack Malik (Patel), on the verge of giving up his dream of ever becoming a successful musician. He has a manager — actually, it’s his childhood friend Ellie (Lily James) — but the only gigs coming his way are kiddie parties and open mic nights at various seedy pubs. He does get to play in a regional tent at a big rock festival, but most of his audience consists of a handful of friends who come to all his shows.

No sooner has he told Ellie that he’s packing it in than the lights go out all over the world for about 12 seconds.  That’s enough time for the bicycle-riding Jack to collide with a bus.

In the accident’s aftermath, though, weird things happen.  He drops references to the Beatles (one of the film’s cleverer aspects is that it shows how many phrases from the Fab Four’s lyrics have become common parlance…sort of like quotes from Shakespeare) and is bewildered when nobody seems to know what he’s talking about.

When he plays “Yesterday” for some pals they are blown away and want to know why he’s been hiding such a great tune.

A trip to Google confirms Jack’s worst fears.  A search for “The Beatles” turns up only entomological websites. (One of the film’s running gags is that over time Jack discovers that other aspects of his old reality have vanished.  For instance, there is no Coca-Cola, only Pepsi, and nobody has ever heard of cigarettes; one assumes that public health has improved immeasurably.)

The film’s strongest moments come early on as Jack discovers his situation and finds himself being propelled into worldwide notoriety. He tours with Ed Sheeran (playing himself quite effectively) and even “debuts” “Back in the U.S.S.R.” at a Moscow concert.

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