It Gently Weeps at times, but Here Comes the Sun for Himesh Patel
I was on a Beatles tour in London last April, and I knew the tour guide would mention about “Yesterday,” Danny Boyle’s latest entry about the only man in the world who remembers John, Paul, George, and Ringo. It’s impossible to forget about the famous musicians, their band name, and their classic songs.
At times, the “Guitar Gently Weeps,” because of its confusing and dull romance side, and “God Only Knows” the message inside this alleged parallel universe. But on the other hand, it has its heart and humor in the right place, and Himesh Patel (BBC’S “EastEnders”) makes an impressive film debut as the only Beatles fan.
The musician’s name is Jack Malik-his songs have failed to make an impact on people, but at least his manager and longtime friend Ellie (Lily James) supports him every step of the way. And then a worldwide blackout happens, and he ends up surviving a bike accident.
When he discovers The Beatles never existed, and he’s the only chap who remembers them, he gets all the lyrics he can (because some he doesn’t know precisely how they were written), and gains fans. Even Ed Sheeran loves Jack’s work, and eventually convinces him to change a song name from “Hey Jude” to “Hey Dude.” Obviously, this is a generation thing, and Jack is appalled at that.
Himesh Patel has proven to me that he is a natural actor-one who rises to the occasion, and adjusting to the parallel universe plot. That is if this is a parallel universe. I kept thinking this would all be a dream. I don’t think it is. Anyway, he’s charming with his dialogue and voice, and he reminded me of Domnhall Gleeson’s role in “About Time.”
“Yesterday,” also written by the brilliant Richard Curtis, is very funny from beginning to end. It pokes fun at the lyrics, the ones only the main protagonist can remember, without being mean-spirited or predictable. In fact, I was prepared for some of the other things the world has forgotten. Pepsi has apparently replaced Coke, for instance, and that’s the best “Pepsi Okay?” gag I’ve seen since the “Cheeseburger Cheeseburger” skits on “SNL.”
The downsides to this movie: I don’t really see the message inside the movie, about why anyone would forget about the music legends. Also, parts between the second and third act are a little boring with Jack regretting about declaring his love for Ellie. And Kate McKinnon has to portray the pushy American agent for Jack. These elements ended up weeping in my perspectives.
Still, the movie is considerate and smart, thanks to Boyle’s direction, Curtis’ writing, and Patel’s acting. This is no match for Boyle’s previous greats like “Trainspotting” or “Slumdog Millionaire,” but it still has something for Beatles fans.