Movie review: Yesterday (2019)

Of course, the music was great

Yesterday_(2019_poster)The Saturday before the trip to Indiana, the family was in Binghamton for a family reunion. Since we started early enough, we decided to stop at the AMC Theater near Binghamton to see the new movie Yesterday.

I’d been seeing the trailer for months. The premise is high concept. “Struggling UK musician Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) decides to give up his career, despite the support of his manager Ellie Appleton (Lily James). But in a bizarre twist, he suddenly realizes that he remembers the music of The Beatles, but apparently no one else does.

“Realizing this improbable opportunity, Jack begins playing the music of the greatest of the rock bands, claiming it as his own. It pays off quickly and Jack becomes a worldwide musical sensation.” But how long can you pass off someone else’s art as your own?

I know this will come as a big surprise to y’all, but I’ve been a huge fan of the Beatles for over a half century. I accepted the premise, and laughed out loud few times. The performances were enjoyable, including those by Kate McKinnon as a hard-edged music producer, and Ed Sheeran as a character named Ed Sheeran.

The critics were only so-so about Yesterday (63% positive on Rotten Tomatoes, though 89% of the audiences liked it). It’s not without its flaws, but I found it a lovely, escapist tale. Hey, Paul and Ringo liked it.

I was particularly struck by Lily James as the friend taken for granted. She is SO much different than the her performance as the titular character in All About Eve.

Of course, the music was great. There’s always speculation how the Beatles would be received now, but the band is so much a part of the cultural DNA, it is really unanswerable.

A little about the AMC theater. We went there as a result of a retirement gift card from one of my sisters The venue on the Vestal Parkway has great, cushy leatheresque seats that recline. It was quite possibly the most comfortable cinematic setting I’ve been to.

On the other hand, it had fully 30 minutes of previews. I don’t mind seeing three or four coming attractions, but I lost count after eight. The nice thing is that they indicated when the film was opening, presumably so you could buy your ticket TODAY.

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