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EDINBURGH 2019

Review: Yesterday

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- Director Danny Boyle and writer Richard Curtis have all The Beatles’ lyrics, but this high-concept "Yellow Submarine" doesn’t have faith in anything but schmaltz

Review: Yesterday
Himesh Patel in Yesterday

Imagine there’s no Beatles, it isn’t hard to do. Imagine Danny Boyle directs, and Richard Curtis pens, too. Imagine a concept movie, and it’s a messy piece. You, you may say I’m a critic, but I’m not the only one. I hoped somehow it was better, and the world ignores this one. Imagine no personalities, I wonder if you can, no need for chemistry, between Himesh Patel and Lily James. Imagine all the cameos, a long one by Ed Sheeran. You, you may say he’s a dreamer, but with no acting bone. I hope someday they make another Beatles movie, and it’s better than this one.

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Imagine there’s no rom-coms, it isn’t hard to do. Nothing to love or cry for, and no Working Title, too. Imagine the lights go out, 12 seconds of darkness. You, you may say Patel plays a singer, but he’s not the only one. Jack hopes someday he’s famous, and everyone thinks he’s the one. Imagine only he remembers, I wonder if you can, the songs of The Fab Four, a brotherhood of man. Imagine Jack steals lyrics, sharing them as his own. You, you may say he’s a winner, loved by all the world. He hopes someday to play Wembley, and not just as Sheeran’s plus one.

Imagine a film called Yesterday [+see also:
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film profile
]
, it’s easy if you try. Nothing to cheer or smile for, and no originality, too. Imagine it’s got Lily James, who is the perfect maid. You, you may say she’s a dreamer, Ellie thinks Jack’s the one. Ellie hopes someday he sees her, and she is the romantic one. Imagine Ellie is understanding, I wonder if you can, no need for her own life, a manager of the man. Imagine Ellie gives up, when Jack gets famous on his own. You, you may say she’s a loser, loved by the wrong man. She hopes someday Jack will be original, and they’ll be together as one.

Imagine there’s no Danny Boyle, that’s harder to do. No Trainspotting or Slumdog [+see also:
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trailer
interview: Danny Boyle
film profile
]
 and no Sunshine [+see also:
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interview: AndrewMacdonald
interview: Danny Boyle
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]
, too. Imagine all the nostalgia, in Trainspotting 2 [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Danny Boyle
film profile
]
. You, you may say that’s better, but here nostalgia’s still no fun. Boyle might someday hear us, and make better films, too. Imagine a poor man’s Notting Hill, I wonder if you can, it makes you pine for Four Weddings, movies of another time. Imagine Richard Curtis, his writing gets worse and worse. You, you may it’s a failure, giving up on his own concept, when somehow it stops being about The Beatles, and Sheeran’s is the one.

Imagine Yesterday is original, but the French have made this before. A world without Johnny Hallyday, the movie called Jean-Philippe [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, yes, that one from 2006. Imagine wanting to see Yesterday, it’s easy to do, so many great ideas, comments on celebrity, little gems so true. Imagine, then, this movie, frustrating the hell out of you. Imagine an Indo-Brit finds fame, in mainstream pop, all the questions on diversity, yes, yes this film wastes them, too. Imagine coming up with good ideas, then turning them to cheese. But no need to imagine, you just have to watch this one.

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