Yesterday Movie Review
Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away, but today, after watching Yesterday, the maddening exercise in failed potential, it looks as though they’re here to stay.
“Maddening” may be a strong word, as the new Danny Boyle comedy is moderately entertaining, but Yesterday is more flat than funny, muted than magical. The movie crests when star Himesh Patel is belting stolen Beatles tunes—not surprising—and troughs when anything else is happening.
The film is also an odd choice for Boyle, and a bad fit for his talents: as one of the more creative and experimental mainstream directors out there, Yesterday is shockingly routine. It looks like it was made by your standard director-of-the-week, not an Oscar-winning talent. Worse, the material is just bland, an extreme disappointment given the underlying concept.
In case you missed it, Yesterday takes place in a world where the Beatles don’t exist—except for in the protagonist’s memory. A struggling musician who plays to empty café shops, his sudden emergence as a songwriting prodigy captures the world’s attention, even if his newfound fame threatens his relationship with his best friend (James).
The movie is a genius idea, but like so many ideas, they work better on paper than in practice. Yesterday rarely, fully, slumps, nor does it not have its shining moments, but the Richard Curtis-written movie fails to discover its comedic rhythm. Patel is well cast, but isn’t given much to work with; the story turns out to be your generic romantic comedy, and the screenplay does little to evoke laughs.
The end product is an amusing but underperforming piece of entertainment, a potential crowdpleaser had it just tried a little harder to capitalize on its clever concept.
There’s a shadow hanging over me. Oh, Yesterday came suddenly, now it needs a place to hide away.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.