The Beatles have been a pervasive force in pop culture for more than 50 years. So while there might be a random person who has never listened to the four lads from Liverpool, it would be insane that no one had ever heard of them before. But that’s the crazy, sci-fi-adjacent premise for the new British rom-com Yesterday.
With a script by one of my favorite writers (Richard Curtis) and directors (Danny Boyle), this looks like it will be the cheesy, heartfelt hit the summer movie season needs. Newcomer Himesh Patel plays Jack, a struggling singer-songwriter who wakes up after a global power outage to discover the Beatles never existed. So his covers of their songs become instant sensations, even though that opens up a whole can of worms about the history of rock ‘n’ roll (and world history, even). For example, someone jokes that “Yesterday,” one of the most performed songs of all time, is no “Fix You” by Coldplay. But would Coldplay even exist without the Beatles? Would U2?
But this movie is far more interested in the emotions the Beatles stir up, represented by the unrequited love between Jack and his longtime friend Ellie (Lily James), as well as Jack’s big creative secret. Even if you’re not fans of James Corden and Ed Sheeran, who cameo as themselves, there’s sure to be something for anyone who’s a fan of Curtis’ big-hearted worlds.
Yesterday opens Friday, June 25.