New trip down Abbey Road
By Aaron Reynolds
3 out of 5 stars
Did you ever sit down to watch a movie and find the story so brilliant and compelling you wondered out loud ‘I wish I would have come up with that idea. It’s so unique or innovative?’ What about an iconic song that you listened to or famous painting?
Art is so widely celebrated with humankind because it requires hard work, persistence, dedication, creativity, and an original concept unlike any other to make it shine in a murky mess of other failed collaborations or mundane attempts.
The Beatles are arguably the greatest band to ever perform in contemporary music. Their influence on rock ‘n roll and other genres of music have left a lasting impression to this very day. The question is ‘What if they never existed?’
It is the premise for the new romantic comedy “Yesterday” starring Himesh Patel as a struggling musician, who after an accident, is the only one who recalls The Beatles. Blessed with this hidden insight the character (named Jack) is conflicted with the opportunity to capitalize on the fame and fortune of iconic music that is not originally his own.
“Yesterday” is one of those rare movies that comes along every so often in mainstream Hollywood that actually has a really unique, crafty setup. I think we all went through those days where we secretly wished we could be rock stars yet lacked the music talent and craftsmanship to write original songs. But everyone sounds great when they play or sing The Beatles, right?
Of course, the central conflict in “Yesterday” is that Jack is piggybacking off the creativity of someone else and it is not exactly cool with his best friend, Ellie, played by Lily James. Is Jack willing to bypass his one opportunity at fame in order to maintain his integrity and be honest that he didn’t write the material?
“Yesterday” also features a surprise appearance from Ed Sheeran and Kate McKinnon from SNL fame. Directed by Danny Boyle, whom I consider one of the more underrated filmmakers in Hollywood based on his work in “Slumdog Millionaire” and “127 Hours” is good, but not quite Oscar-worthy with the final result in “Yesterday”.
The movie is a feel-good rom-com that has solid performances from its central cast and keeps the tone light and fun. Of course, you can never go wrong with a soundtrack exclusive to The Beatles, and “Yesterday” delivers there too.
Perhaps the formula for the plot is a little too simplified for some that were expecting a profound Beatlesesque transition to the big screen yet there is plenty to like with the film.
It is a charming modern world fantasy to get lost in for a couple of hours during the thick of the summer heat. The nostalgia of the film is more than appropriate for audiences old enough to remember The Beatles or have become immersed with the culture of the band. For audiences new to The Beatles, it is a chance to take a new trip to Abbey Road.
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