Imagine a world where The Beatles never existed…
You could make a pretty strong argument that Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis are the most powerful filmmakers in British cinema. One directed Trainspotting, 28 Days Later and Slumdog Millionaire. The other wrote Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill and Love Actually. Two titans, yes, but their filmmaking sensibilities don’t seem a natural match.
Their first film together, Yesterday looks suitably nuts. It’s a Beatles movie that isn’t about The Beatles.
The film features Himesh Patel as Jack Malik, a typical Curtis leading man, in that he’s very sweet, has floppy hair and is highly accident prone. He crashes his bike, which causes the loss of his two front teeth and apparently the entire existence of The Beatles.
Jack wakes up in a world where he is the only one who remembers the Fab Four and their songs, so when he sings ‘Yesterday’ to his friends they think he wrote it. And ‘Hey Jude’, ‘Let It Be’ and every other hit. He becomes, understandably, a huge worldwide music star, the greatest songwriter in history. But does he deserve it?
Of course, there must be a romcom element and that comes in the form of Lily James as Ellie, the good friend who gets left behind in the wake of Jack’s celebrity. Will she be the thing that brings him back down to earth and makes him realise that All You Need Is Love? Probably yes.
The trailer also features a surprising amount of Ed Sheeran. After cameos in Bridget Jones’ Baby and Game of Thrones, this looks like a more substantial role for the singer, who is gamely poking fun at himself with jokes about his rapping and attempts to ruin Hey Jude.
We’ll have to wait until the film’s June release to find out whether Sheeran succeeds in his evil masterplan to wreck one of the greatest songs in history.