A struggling musician realises he’s the only person on Earth who can remember The Beatles after waking up in an alternate timeline where they never existed.
Everyone in the World Has Forgotten the Beatles. Everyone Except Jack…
Jack (Patel) is an aspiring musician who isn’t setting the world alight. In fact, the only person who really seems to believe in him is BFF Ellie (James), who also happens to be his manager. After a disappointing gig at Latitude festival, Jack decides to call in quits and go back to teaching. Ellie has strong views about this but his mind is set.
On the way home that night there’s a mysterious global black out and all electricity goes off for 12 seconds across the world. During this tiny window of time, Jack is knocked off his bike by a bus. Smashed up but otherwise okay, Jack slowly heals and things go back to normal, but for one thing: nobody but Jack seems to remember The Beatles.
A frantic Google session reveals that there is no record of John, Paul, George or Ringo – and the only beetle of any note is the multi-legged kind. This means that the entire Beatles back catalog is available for plagiarism, if only Jack can remember the words. When he starts pulling it all together, his career (gradually) starts to take off. He becomes locally famous at least.
Despite this gift of true art at his fingertips, Jack laments that it must be him, destined only for mediocrity. Until he gets a call from the Ed Sheeran (as himself) and in turn, meets Ed’s manager, Debra Hammer (Kate McKinnon). Debra whisks Jack to LA to work on his image and an incredible double album primed to change the face of music forever.
But none of this sits right with Jack and his guilt begins to weigh on him. Meanwhile Ellie, now stood down as his manager, reveals her true feelings. Is Jack capable of giving her what she needs? And, when two oddballs come out of the woodwork as the only other people who remember the band, will Jack’s deep secret be revealed for him?
Well, there are some lovely touches here and it is a feel-good movie, as you’d expect from its screenwriter, Rom Com godfather Richard Curtis. None of the story line is explained which I really like. Along with The Beatles, there are lots of iconic popular culture references that no longer exist, including Coca Cola which is crazy to even comprehend.
I enjoyed Yesterday a lot but I fear it might disappear quickly from my memory. While Danny Boyle has done a fine job with it – particularly some of the grander scale scenes, specifically the roof top gig – I don’t think it’s as iconic as Love Actually, Bridget Jones’s Diary or Notting Hill (all penned by Mr Curtis).
Regardless, I enjoyed the character of Jack. He’s not awful to look at all – and Lily James is always quality, even though she’s quite underwritten as Ellie. I would have liked more for her character. But all in all, colour me happy with this higher-end Rom Com, which I watched on my own straight from work on Friday night. The perfect solo date.