Growing up listening to the Beatles it’s inevitable that they and their music have influenced me in many subtle and more obvious ways. I guess as a writer their lyrics and their language and their ability to play with language and words, so imagining a world where there had been no Beatles is quite a challenge… an intriguing challenge, and a challenge that has been met by a film, ‘Yesterday’.
The film is the story of a young would-be musician who has zero success with his own songs which he plays at gigs around his local area. He is Jack Malik and comes from an ordinary family living on the Norfolk coast. He is supported by his friends but has no success reaching a wider audience. He’s involved in an accident and on waking up finds the world is unchanged except for one thing – the Beatles never existed! Only he knows their music – the melodies and lyrics. It won’t spoil your enjoyment of the film as it has been widely talked about – Jack begins to pass off Beatles songs as his own…
It is a wonderful, engaging film, very funny – in many subtle and comical ways, has great music (of course) an intriguing story line, and does when you come away from it pose some intriguing ‘what if’ questions. Jack is played by the actor Himesh Patel, familiar to many from playing a character in ‘Eastenders’ but as I don’t watch it he was a complete unknown to me. Two of my favourite actors Meera Syal and Sanjeev Bhaskar play his parents, and there are great performances from all the cast – our favourite character was Jack’s hopeless but well-meaning friend Rocky played by Joel Fry.
The other main actor is Ed Sheeran who plays… Ed Sheeran! I have read some criticisms of the film because a real person is playing himself – but although I understand the point about actual actors being deprived of roles, in this case I cant see how it can have possibly worked with an imaginary superstar.
This is such a great, fun film, I wouldn’t mind seeing it again because I’m sure there are loads of bits I missed because i was laughing, or because there is so much going on in it. There is such a great plot twist at the end, with no clue of it coming up, that i can’t even hint at what it is! One extra bonus for us is that the great actress Sarah Lancashire is also in it, who we knew many, many years ago and have followed her career with delight at her success.