[REVIEW] 'Yesterday' Is The Must-Watch, Feel-Good Rom Com Of 2019

Be prepared to have your heart melted.

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[REVIEW] 'Yesterday' Is The Must-Watch, Feel-Good Rom Com Of 2019
Picture this scenario: you wake up from your slumber one day, you launch your Spotify app to play your favourite Michael Buble songs to help you get in the mood to face the day realised that your favourite singer had never existed. 

You Google his name, and a balloon shop called Michael's Bubble pops up. You ask your friends about him, and they all stare at you like you've lost your mind. 

Now, it seems like you're the only one who remembers Michael Buble. What are you going to do with that information? 

This is basically the premise for 'Yesterday', a romantic comedy directed by award-winning director Danny Boyle (he previously directed 'Slumdog Millionaire', which won the Oscar for Best Picture back in 2008).

The movie revolves around Jack Malik, a struggling singer-songwriter from a small town in England. After years of playing to an almost empty venue with little fanfare, Jack finally decides it's time to hang up his guitar and give up on his dream of becoming a well-known singer.

However, his childhood friend-slash-manager Ellie is not letting him quit, saying that he shouldn't give up because "miracles happen all the time".

Things changed one night when Jack got into an accident during a mysterious solar flare which blacked out the entire world for 12 seconds. When he woke up, he discovers that no one else on Earth remembers The Beatles. 

Jack then took the opportunity to perform The Beatles' songs on stage, claiming he wrote them. His songwriting 'talents' soon caught the attention of Ed Sheeran, who requested for Jack to go on tour with him.

As his stock rises, Jack is caught in a whirlwind of fame and fortune.

'Yesterday' may look and sound like a pretty huge gamble, considering that the lead role of Jack Malik went to a newcomer and his first order is to cover The Beatles' greatest hits, but after coming out of the cinema, we can safely vouch for 'Yesterday' to be arguably this year's must-watch feel-good movie.

#1 A trip down Abbey Road

If you're fan of old classic songs like "Hey Jude", "Let It Be" and yes, "Yesterday", you'll definitely feel at home with this movie. You'll be served with one The Beatles hit after another, and you're pressed to sing along when the song comes on screen.

In fact, we actually forgot some of the songs were sung by The Beatles, like "Here Comes The Sun" and "Come Together", until it came on-screen and had us going, "Wait, this is a The Beatles song?".

Himesh Patel, who plays the lead Jack Malik in the movie, does a pretty decent job bringing these evergreen songs back to life, with his own flair and style, of course. We have to say, it's no easy task appearing in his first ever major movie and covering The Beatles' hits, but he (and his guitar) definitely held his own. 

At the end of the movie, on our way back home, we couldn't resist firing up Spotify and jumping into a The Beatles playlist. 

They were a lot of fan service in the movie too, from a yellow submarine toy to the infamous Abbey Road; you'll have to be quick to spot them, though. Oh, and be prepared for a gasp-inducing surprise appearance (and no, it's not who you think it is, we guarantee that).

#2 Marry me, Lily James!

OK, this point may be super biased, because this writer is a huge fan of Lily James. In this movie, she plays Ellie, a mathematics teacher who is also Jack's childhood friend and manager.

She chauffeurs him around for gigs and gives him motivational pep talks occassionally, and the reason she does that is because she's been secretly in love with Jack since they were teenagers.

She is fun and quirky, she is supportive, she is extremely charming and beautiful; you'll find yourself falling in love with Lily James in no time.

And because James is such an unbelievable actress, James' performance will have you feeling for her character. During the scenes when her character goes through a heartbreak, you'll feel like your own heart is breaking too. 

Also, Patel and James are very, very likeable as a couple.

The chemistry between the both of them doesn't seem fake, and you'll find yourself rooting for them to get together, because you care for Ellie, and she deserves that happiness.

#3 For the LOLs

Often times, rom coms forget the 'coms' part. The good news is, you won't find that here.

'Yesterday' is one of the best laugh-out-loud movies out there, thanks to the performance of its well-rounded cast as well as the script by Richard Curtis, the man who wrote both the Mr Bean movies, "Notting Hill" and "Bridget Jones's Diary".

The role of the goofball, Rocky, is played by Joel Fry. Rocky, Jack's assistant-slash-manager after he became famous, is your typical stoner guy whose main mission is to dish out funny one-liners, but thankfully, his wisecracks did manage to force a few LOLs out from us.

What we can appreciate about the comedic tone of the movie is that none of its funny moments (and there are a lot of them) seem forced, and thank god that they are not of the slapstick kind.

Even Ed Sheeran was given some spotlight in the laugh-aton, when he suggested that Jack's single "Hey Jude" be renamed to "Hey Dude". Classic.

And speaking of Ed Sheeran...

#4 Meet the supporting guys

To be honest, Sheeran did a pretty decent job playing Ed Sheeran on the big screen. When we found out that Sheeran plays a pretty big role in the movie, we were skeptical at first. Remember the big hoo-ha he caused the last time he made an appearance on 'Game Of Thrones'?

Surprisingly, Sheeran's acting chops were more natural and less kaku in 'Yesterday'. In fact, he was even comfortable enough to make fun of himself in the movie considering that gingers have no soul.

Another standout performer in the movie is Kate McKinnon, of 'Saturday Night Live' and 'Ghostbusters' (the all-female one) fame. McKinnon plays Deborah, a no-nonsense, greedy music agent who's only goal is to ride on Jack's success and sell records so she could "get another beach front house". 

Deborah's sarcastic, usually pointed humour is a stark contrast to the comedic tone of the movie, but it works very well. In fact, McKinnon's strong-willed character is what we needed to break up all the lovey-dovey we see in the movie. 


The biggest disappointment, we feel, about 'Yesterday' is -- you probably guessed it -- its predictability and cliché-ness.

'Yesterday' doesn't bring anything new to the rom com genre, so you can expect the same old storyline: boy and girl fall in love, something bad happens and they can't be together, one of them then starts seeing someone new, the other suddenly realises it was a mistake letting the other person go, and finally, pulls out a grand confession of love to win the other person back.

(The grand act towards the end of the movie, we have to say, is one of the most aww-worthy and heart-melting moments we've ever seen in a rom com, so be prepared for a tiny bit of waterworks)

Also, if you think 'Yesterday' is like 'Bohemian Rhapsody', you'll be disappointed. Yes, you'll still be able to tap your feet and snap your fingers to The Beatles' greatest hits, but you don't get the whole song performance. 

In short, 'Yesterday' is no 'Bohemian Rhapsody'.

One way to remedy that is to go into the cinema with the mindset that you're watching a rom com, and the The Beatles element is just a bonus. That way, you're able to manage your expectations a little better.

However, having said that, these tiny little disappointments won't ruin an otherwise charming, feel-good romantic comedy. 

If you're looking for a movie to watch to forget about the shitty day you just had, 'Yesterday' should be on top of your list. Trust us, Lily James alone is worth the price of the admission ticket.

Final score:

(4 guitars out of 5)

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