Yesterday

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.

Himesh PatelLily JamesSophia Di Martino

Everyone in the World Has Forgotten the Beatles. Everyone Except Jack…

*Minor spoilers*

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.

WHUT.

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.

Film details:

Yesterday
Year: 2019
Director: Danny Boyle
IMDB Rating: 7/10
My Rating: 3.5/5

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Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)

IMDB Synopsis

Five years after the events of Mamma Mia! (2008), Sophie learns about her mother’s past while pregnant herself.

*Minor spoilers*

Donna is no longer with us, though we don’t find out in this sequel what happened to our vivacious heroine. Instead we meet her daughter Sophie again (Amanda Seyfried) on the cusp of reopening Donna’s beloved B&B in Greece.

Sophie it seems now spends her days on the beautiful island that stole her mother’s heart all those years ago and has dedicated much time to renovating and relaunching the picturesque guesthouse. Things are lively there as she leans on her hotel manager friend Fernando (LOL) (Andy Garcia) for help getting everything just so before the big opening party. 

While she juggles all this she also has concerns over her own relationship with Sky (Dominic Cooper) who has just been offered a kick arse job back in the USA. Both seem to be heading in different directions which can’t be a good thing…

Film Title: Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

As Donna’s BFFs Tanya and Rosie (Christine Baranski and the mighty Julie Walters) rock up for the party, Sophie learns something new and life-changing about herself – but will she get her happy ending?

Oh, and what’s the real story of how Donna came to have a child with three potential baby daddies anyway?

Mamma Mia! HWGA takes us on a journey through Donna’s past as she leaves university to travel and find herself. We learn how she met each of the men in her life – Harry, Bill and Sam – and settled down with the true love of her life in a little home in Greece: I’m talking about Sophie, of course.

"Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again."

Lily James is gorgeous as young Donna, all golden hair and luminous skin, and she does Meryl absolutely proud, I think. As Donna loves and loses, she also gains everything and it’s really nice to be sitting in a cinema with a bunch of over-excited work mates (of all ages) watching a musical with a nice message like this. God knows we need more joy in our every day.

While it’s bittersweet in that the main character is dead, it’s a feel good movie to the end and examines motherhood in a way that made me cry like a wee baby. Plus, in ‘present day’, Sophie’s grandma rocks up uninvited and I think we all know who she is… rhymes with Bear…

Special shout out to the young men playing the baby daddies, especially Josh Dylan as Young Bill. HELLO! Julie Walters robs every scene as far as I’m concerned – and Cher‘s Fernando (to Fernando) gave me chills. What a dame.

In fact, everyone’s on their A-game here and even if not all the singing or the music hits the mark (looking at you, Dominic Cooper), it’s fun fun fun in the sun and you can’t fight it. 

mamma-mia

Bring on Part 3!

My Rating

3.5/5.

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018)

Directed by: Mike Newell
Starring: Lily James, Michiel Huisman, Matthew Goode, Katherine Parkinson, Penelope Wilton

IMDB Synopsis

A writer forms an unexpected bond with the residents of Guernsey Island in the aftermath of World War II, when she decides to write a book about their experiences during the war.

Where: Odeon Brighton
When: Monday 30th April
Snacks: Macadamia and white chocolate cookies from Subway (#obsessed)

*Minor spoilers*

My Review

Somewhere, at some point I turned into a little old lady with a penchant for period dramas and particularly, films about books and book clubs. I put off seeing this momentarily because of the title. Honestly, it’s explained in the film but it is terrible and deeply unappealing. Which is a shame because this is a good movie, especially if you love the above things as I do.

It’s 1946 and Juliet Ashton (James) is a fairly successful author on the cusp of an exciting national tour. Her latest book is written under the pen name Izzy Bickerstaff and is a compilation of fun stories about life during WWII. She’s in a relationship with a wealthy American (Glen Powell) and has a dope best friend, her agent Sidney (Matthew Goode). One day she receives a letter from a stranger, Dawsey Adams (Huisman) who happens to have picked up a book Juliet used to own (and has inscribed with her name and previous address).

Somehow the book has found its way to Dawsey by way of his local book club – The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (or TGLAPPPS). The society was formed on the hop a few years before the correspondence between Juliet and Dawsey begins. Guernsey at this point is/was occupied by the Germans and life is/was truly miserable for everyone on the island.

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The pen pals start to bond (who knew?) and it’s not long before Juliet and Dawsey are exchanging their stories. When Juliet invites herself to Guernsey to meet the group – and potentially write an article about them – she finds herself embroiled in all their lives, for better or worse.

Guernsey (fuck that title) is a soft and pretty period piece with a bite, thankfully. As Juliet unravels the truth about the book club and its members, she learns that things have not been easy as the years have passed by. The war has claimed many loved ones (not to mention Juliet’s own parents) and still has its claws in Elizabeth McKenna (Jessica Brown Findlay), a spirited idealist still being kept in a prisoner of war camp somewhere in Germany.

The film doesn’t shy away from some brutal scenes and this saves it from being too whimsical. Don’t get me wrong, there’s a lot of soft focus and fannying about Guernsey in dynamite frocks, damn you Lily James but it does have a slight edge.

guernsey-literary-0

The romantic element is no surprise but it’s fun and photogenic – and sometimes that’s not a bad thing. As for talent, national treasure Penelope Wilton is ace as the prickly (and who can blame her) Amelia Maugery, the matriarch of the group who has lost almost everything to the war.

Katherine Parkinson’s hippy dippy Isola Pribby is also a delight and she lives in my actual dream home. James is a likeable leading lady too and although she’s incredibly wholesome, this did illustrate just how wasted she was in Baby Driver (a film not exactly celebrated for it’s female characterisation).

So I do recommend this nice film which could have just as easily been a BBC drama shown on a Sunday night (not a bad thing). Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to book a solo jaunt to Guernsey. It looks like actual Heaven.

My Rating

4/5.