I was sceptical when going into Danny Boyle’s latest directorial outing “Yesterday”. After his last film “T2: Trainspotting” it seemed unlikely that a pairing with “Notting Hill’” and “Love Actually” screenwriter Richard Curtis would fit quite right. Another reason for my scepticism was the fact that this is a movie where the music of The Beatles is pivotal, and when dealing with such a universal phenomena it is easy to fall short. Ed Sheeran’s inclusion didn’t make me particularly enthusiastic from the get go either. My preconceptions aside. Does it actually work? Well yes, and no.
It works for what it is; a happy go lucky, feelgood romantic comedy.
The dialogue is filled with the razor sharp wit that you’d expect from Richard Curtis, and you either love that or you hate that. The fast paced dialogue works well with Danny Boyle’s eclectic directing style, creating an upbeat tone that never really lets up. That along with the flawless renditions of songs spanning the entirety of The Beatles discography make the film breeze right on by.
Though in its breeziness also lies its faults. There isn’t any proper conflict to speak of. There is an idea which if fleshed out a little more could have been beneficial. Instead it comes to a swift close after a build up to what could have been an interesting point of conflict. Perhaps I’m being a little critical of what is supposed to be a feelgood summer movie, but I think it could have done with the intrigue.
The performances are great all round. Himesh Patel is excellent as the lead Jack Malik, he has the perfect blend of awkward charm, and bitter sentimentality for this role. Kate McKinnon is a definite highlight as Debra Hammer, the shamelessly unapologetic LA manager, a character which could have easily become tedious but unequivocally doesn’t. Lily James continues to be an exceedingly lovely screen presence as Ellie Appleton the faultless love interest, and Ed Sheeran ain’t all that bad being himself.
It’s all so uniformly light and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but for those who want a little more from this will be disappointed in the lack of a properly fleshed out premise. The route the movie takes is a little too easy going, but that being said, I enjoyed my ticket to ride.