REVIEW: ‘Yesterday’ brims with positivity and Beatles tunes

Himesh Patel stars as Jack Malik in “Yesterday,” directed by Danny Boyle. Photo Credit: Jonathan Prime/Uni. © 2019 Universal Studios

When struggling singer-songwriter Jack (Himesh Patel) is hit by a bus during a 12-second worldwide power outage, what’s obviously been lost are his two front teeth.

Less obvious is the fact that in those 12 seconds of darkness The Beatles were erased from history. Except, poor toothless Jack still remembers them. In fact, he’s the only person on earth who does.

So what’s a struggling singer-songwriter to do other than immediately begin to pass off some of the most universally loved songs ever written as his own?

When fame and fortune and dismay that one person could write so many incredible songs come, Jack stays quiet, though conflicted. Does it count as real success when your career only starts working when you start singing someone else’s songs?

Will the world go dark and remember The Beatles again at any moment? Is a world with imitation Beatles better than a world with no Beatles at all?

Yesterday attempts to answer those questions while taking you through a roller coaster ride of the Beatles greatest hits.

There are highs — an ongoing joke about Jack trying to remember the lyrics to Eleanor Rigby — and lows — Kate McKinnon’s over-the-top performance as a superstar manager.

But most of all there is love. Between friends, lovers, family and fans all over the world and the music of the Beatles that continues to live on in a universally beloved way.

Himesh Patel is incredibly likeable and a more than adequate musician. Lily James is good but underused as his long suffering best friend longing for more, and Ed Sheeran has more fun than anyone poking fun at himself in a solid extended cameo.

Is Yesterday a deep dive into the importance of music and who owns creative works? Not in the slightest. It’s a lighthearted, candy-coated delight that will keep you guessing even when you think you’ve figured out the game the filmmakers are playing.

If you love the Beatles and can accept a bizarre premise that is never fully explained, Yesterday is an excellent way to spend two hours that will leave you brimming with positivity and a new playlist.

Vicky Sparks is a Bright’s Grove native and movie critic for Global TV’s The Morning Show, which airs nationally on Fridays. Her Journal Reviews cover movies playing at Galaxy Cinemas Sarnia