In ‘Yesterday,’ Richard Curtis imagines a reality where no one has heard of the Beatles

Yesterday movie

Yesterday movie

Let me just start off by saying that Richard Curtis can do no wrong. From Blackadder to Mr Bean to Vicar of Dibley to Four Weddings and a Funeral to Notting Hill to Bridget Jones’s Diary to Love Actually (need I go on?), Curtis is also the co-driving force with Lenny Henry behind the massive Comic Relief/Red Nose Day/Sport Relief effort that has raised in excess of £1 billion since its inception in 1985. Look up the word “romcom” in the dictionary and Richard Curtis’ picture would be the only definition.

It’s abundantly clear that music plays a huge role in whatever Curtis puts his stamp on. This has never been more evident than in his newest big screen effort, Yesterday. Written and produced by Curtis and directed by Slumdog Millionaire‘s Danny Boyle, the film dares to imagine a time when the Beatles never existed except in the mind of one massively lucky individual, played by Himesh Patel (Eastenders).

It’s scheduled to hit theaters on June 28 of this year. If ever a film deserved the film critic description of “the feel good movie of the year,” this is it.

Himesh Patel as Jack Malik

Himesh Patel as Jack Malik (Credit: Working Title Films/Danny Boyle)

Jack Malik is a struggling musician. During a worldwide blackout, he is hit by a bus. After awakening he discovers that he is the only person in the world who appears to remember the Beatles. After coming to the realization that this could remove the word “struggling” from his job title, Jack seizes upon his new found opportunity by plagiarizing their songs and becomes a star.

The cast includes:

  • Lily James of Downton Abbey fame — who seems to be the female version of Benedict Cumberbatch these days in that she seems to be in everything (Cinderella, War & Peace, Darkest Hour, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again) — as Jack’s love interest
  • Sanjeev Bhaskar (The Kumars at No. 42, Unforgotten) and Meera Syal (The Kumars at No. 42) as his parents
  • Joel Fry (Trollied, Twenty Twelve, W1A, Game of Thrones) as the best friend
  • Kate McKinnon (Saturday Night LiveGhostbusters) as a music executive who promises he’ll make a lot of money for her record label.
James Cordon and Himesh Patel

(Credit: Working Title Films/Danny Boyle)

Even James Corden, who lit up the Internets recently with his Carpool Karaoke episode that took Sir Paul McCartney back to Liverpool, has no idea who the Beatles were and talks Jack into writing a song on the spot on The Late Late Show.

Recognizing in 2019 that there are actual real-life individuals who have no idea that Paul McCartney was in another band before Wings, the mere thought of a world without the Beatles is enough to make this a horror movie.

Thankfully, with Richard Curtis and Danny Boyle involved, it’s only a movie. This one definitely goes on the must-see list in June.

Yesterday opens June 28 in U.S. theaters nationwide.

In: Music