I was dubious, I won’t lie. I was not incredibly excited to see a film that centred around what seemed such a bizarre and risky plot. We enter into the world of Jack Malik (Himesh Patel), an aspiring musician who has been battered by the cruelty of the industry, despite his manager/best friend,Ellie’s (Lily James) relentless support for him and his career. After one final performance, he decides it’s time to give in and begins to cycle home, casting aside Ellie’s pleas to believe he will be successful. In a freak, worldwide blackout, Jack is hit by a bus. And the only thing he seems to find more disturbing than the loss of his front teeth, is the fact that no one seems to be understanding his references to The Beatles. And so ensues, perhaps, the most surprising two hours of my summer.
Danny Boyle’s take on the tropes painted them in a different light, thanks to his refreshingly original plot. Ellie, the unrequited, yet unrealised love wasn’t placed at the centre of the film. Although not quite insignificant enough to label it a sub – plot, Ellie was a factor that shaped Jack’s journey, rather than dictated it. When so much of cinema is dictated by romantic plots, it was nice to see this marginally sidelined, just for a while. It’s not that I don’t enjoy a good love story, of course I do. But I don’t always want to watch a love story slyly disguised by the premise of a different plot, that falls victim to a dominating love story.
It was so much more than pictures on a screen or words on a script.
Yesterday knew exactly what it was. It didn’t try to be overtly hilarious, it didn’t try to be desperately cool and modern, it simply told a story. It was so much more than pictures on a screen or words on a script. It told a story about belonging, about truth and true love and about the power and importance of music. Throughout the film things happen: people cry and laugh and talk, they change clothes and develop in their own ways. But none of these events are more important than another. What Danny Boyle does so cleverly, is he makes the the film precisely the sum of its parts – all the parts add meaning, emotion and power – culminating into a film that moved me further than I would have ever guessed. It might not be winning an Oscar for cinematography, and perhaps Himesh Patel won’t be nominated for a BAFTA, but none of these things really matter in this film.
Yesterday has the lighthearted charm of a classic British comedy, with dry humour, a sprinkling of awkward moments and a really strong feel – good factor. It may not be a film that I’ll watch year on year, but it is a film I’ll remember. And, as a person who can hardly remember what I ate for breakfast, that means a lot.