What if no one on Earth remembered the music of the Beatles? What if some unknown music guy and he alone could remember the famous tunes? Would the music be as compelling without the mop-top quartet and their personalities? Who cares? We have a chance to watch a love story play out and at the very same time we have a chance to hear a lot of Beatles music. I say that we have reason enough to go and see “Yesterday.”
But wait, that’s not all. The director, Danny Boyle, has an Oscar, which often enough gives us another reason to watch a film. Boyle has directed some tremendous films including the horrifying tale of addiction, “Trainspotting.” He also directed the heroic story of desert survival, “127 Hours.” He rightly won his Oscar for directing “Slumdog Millionaire,” a wonderful film about an unlikely game show winner in India starring Dev Patel. Dev Patel and Himesh Patel have no family connection that I could find. There must be more English actors named Patel than I thought.
Boyle directs but Richard Curtis penned the screenplay. We need to pay attention to Richard Curtis, an Oscar nominee for his “Four Weddings and a Funeral.” Curtis both wrote and directed “Pirate Radio,” a little known gem of a movie and also wrote and directed a truly great film about love in all of its aspects “About Time.”
The cast puts a leading man known entirely for his work in British TV, Himesh Patel with the talented and beautiful Lily James. Some will remember her from “Downton Abbey,” the famous TV series and more recently for the live action version of “Cinderella.”
The couple, friends for all their lives in England cannot quite take their relationship to the place where all of their friends know it should be. Then the cosmic event occurs which changes reality. In the new reality Coca-Cola does not exist nor does the music of the Beatles. James portrays the patient woman in love who finally can be patient no longer. It breaks our heart to see so well displayed her heartbreaking. Lovely acting.
Comic Kate McKinnon plays a bloodless Hollywood agent with exurbanite verve. Also watch for a tiny, perfect sketch by Lamorne Morris, late of the TV hit show “The New Girl.”
When excellent direction, very accomplished acting and a great script come together we have a wonderful film. Then add on a big stack of Beatles songs and we get “Yesterday.”
“Yesterday” rolls out at one hour and 56 minutes. With a mild PG-13 rating people from middle school on up will enjoy watching and especially listening to the film. It gets a strong five saw blades. A five saw blade film has to be perfect in the sense that I cannot imagine a single thing that would change it and make it better.Fun Fact: Both director Danny Boyle and leading lady Lily James have Zombie flick connections. Danny Boyle directed the superb “28 Days Later” while James starred in the frolic “Pride, Prejudice and Zombies.” How about that?