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All Areas > Entertainment > Film Review

Author: Joe Kennett, Posted: Monday, 22nd July 2019, 09:00

Himesh Patel as Jack Malik. Picture: Working Title Films Himesh Patel as Jack Malik. Picture: Working Title Films

‘Trainspotting’. ‘28 Days Later’. ‘Slumdog Millionaire’. ‘127 Hours’. After an arguably dry spell for Danny Boyle in terms of massive British blockbusters, ‘Yesterday’ reclaims his title as one of the best British directors of all time.

It’s a different trajectory for Boyle to take, by all means. When Trainspotting came out some 23 years ago (before my birth even!), no one would quite have imagined Boyle to bring us a film with such innocence as we see in this latest feature.

‘Yesterday’ follows Jack (Himesh Patel), a failing musician, who wakes up in a world where everyone has forgotten The Beatles.

Firstly, can you imagine?

So, naturally, as any failing musician would, he desperately remembers all the lyrics to just about every Beatles single ever released, and, surprise surprise, becomes the biggest singer/songwriter in the world.

Himesh Patel, who you may remember as Eastenders’ Tamwar Masood, makes his film and singing debut as Jack Malik, and truly shines.

Without a doubt, this is by no means the last we’ve seen of Patel. He offers up a refreshing performance as a character with real soul, despite being stuck in more dilemmas than I have fingers throughout most of the film.

Supporting Jack through his musical journey is childhood friend and will-they-won’t-they lover Ellie (Lily James) and newfound pal Ed Sheeran, who plays himself.

Lily James has made herself a household name in British and international cinema in recent years, rising from strength to strength from Disney’s live action remake of ‘Cinderella’ back in 2015 right through to last year’s musical hit sequel ‘Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again’, establishing herself as a shining star of the future of British actresses.

Ed Sheeran takes some warming up, but his rapport with Patel breaks out during the film, and he’s very easily warmed to.

Writers Jack Barth and Richard Curtis ace the pace of the story, and the film is rife with intimate, heartfelt moments which restore some joy in a world where The Beatles don’t exist.

Small references to other common names and items, such as cigarettes, Coca-Cola and Harry Potter, which have also ceased to exist, give moments of comic relief, if only to add to Jack’s confusion.

Combine all these elements with a string of classic Beatles hits, and it’s clear to see that the crew behind this film have created something truly special.

Could we see a sequel where Jack Malik re-writes the entire Potter series? If Boyle can string it together with the magical feel-good vibes that ‘Yesterday’ relishes in, then bring it on.

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