If you are happy to accept that a 12-second global blackout wipes the Beatles’ back catalogue from living memory, with the exception of a mediocre pub singer called Jack, (and I did so with ease), there’s every chance you might enjoy the film Yesterday*. After Jack’s bump on the head, obviously hit by a bus in those 12 split seconds, his get-well gift from friends is a guitar on which, to their astonishment, he serenades them with the lilting lines of ‘Yesterday’. In this new universe, he’s believed to be the composer of all the Fab Four songs that he can cobble together and happily assumes this mantle on his quest for fame.
Depth is not the film’s strong point and suspension of belief needs to be propped up with 10ft barge poles – but it’s a bit of a chuckle-along and great fun fielding Beatle references for the initiated. There goes Jack strutting his stuff across the traffic crossing, being compared to the Messiah by his doe-eyed girlfriend and meeting an elderly John Lennon (don’t ask) sat on an upside-down boat imaginatively called Imagine.
As for the girlfriend, well he doesn’t know he has one for much of the film – but in a Four Weddings meets Notting Hill kind of way, he gets there in the end. The cutsie Ed Sheeran plays a passable cameo of himself suggesting that ‘Hey Jude’ would be better titled ‘Hey Dude’ and losing in a head-to-head song-writing contest with Jack who unashamedly brings ‘The Long and Winding Road’ to the party.
Fifteen further greatest hits are dished up in this crowd-pleasing, toe-tapping super smoothie. I’d happily watch it again; outside, on a big screen, from a deck chair, eating ice cream, in an octopus’s garden in the shade.
(*Screenplay by Richard Curtis, directed by Danny Boyle starring Himesh Patel and Lily James.)