diamond geezer

 Saturday, July 06, 2019

The dg film review: Yesterday (12A) (116 min) (2019)

Not so much the latest Danny Boyle film as the latest Richard Curtis romcom, Yesterday asks the peculiar question "What if the Beatles had never existed?" If you can get past the ridiculous set-up and roll with the outcome, it might all come together.

There were four of us in the cinema, and this man walks in and sits directly in front of me, gets out a Cornish pasty and starts eating. I shuffled away.

Our hero is Jack Malik, formerly Tamwar out of EastEnders, playing a struggling singer with a repertoire few enjoy. But when a global blackout leaves him the only person in the world to remember the Fab Four's back catalogue he takes full advantage, amusingly, and soon it's roll over Beethoven.

Instead of the usual cavalcade of pre-film adverts we were subjected to a five minute epic in which a jeans manufacturer pretended to care about urban youth culture... which none of the weekday audience evidently did.

The first hour is rather good, having fun with various aspects of the underlying concept and with numerous witty nods to the audience. Then Curtis ups the romcom quotient, which to be fair is exactly what he always does, and the whole thing becomes less of a magical mystery tour.

About an hour in, this elderly couple stood up and asked out loud whether this was Amazing Grace, and when told it wasn't walked out grumbling and headed off to Screen Two.

It's a very Suffolk kind of movie, which is pleasantly unusual, including a bit of Latitude, a lot of Lowestoft and a borderline wooden performance by Ed Sheeran. I did cringe slightly (geographically) when I spotted Clacton Pier, and yelped inwardly when I recognised Buckenham station, which proved key to Jack's ticket to ride.

I was up in the area when Danny Boyle filmed at Gorleston beach, attracting six thousand extras on a surprisingly sunny day (although I didn't go along, I only watched the excitable local news reports on Look East).

Himesh Patel plays Jack with surprising aplomb, although it's his wicked witch of an agent who gets all the best lines. Yesterday is a movie you'll either like or hate, loaded with plot holes but with all the right elements for a feelgood summer smash. I liked it. You may prefer to let it be.

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