If there was one band or musical artist I wouldn’t mind forgetting about tomorrow, it would be Wham! I just really can’t stand “Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go!” and if the whole world just forgot about their music, I really don’t think things would be any different. This music-centric romantic dramedy premiered as the closing night feature at the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. It was later released in theaters worldwide by Universal Pictures on June 28th, 2019, to generally positive reviews. It has thus far managed to gross over $142.3 million at the box office against a production budget of $26 million. Although it has by no means blown up at the top spot, it has consistently sustained its position as a profitable film. This is especially impressive considering some of the massive tentpoles it’s gone up against weekend to weekend. Even though most audiences have enjoyed it quite a lot, critics are more mixed or critical on their opinions. Directed by Danny Boyle, the script originally started out with writers Jack Barth and Mackenzie Crook under the title Cover Version. Both of them eventually left and Love, Actually filmmaker Richard Curtis took over revisions, ultimately reworking much of the story. All in all, it took a total of $10 million and express permission from the surviving members and widows of the band that inspired the picture to finally go ahead with production. It also got into some trouble post-release when a handful of artists and writers claimed that the premise for the film was practically identical to their own works. Newcomer Himesh Patel stars as Jack Malik, a former teacher and a struggling musician who’s hit a creative dry spell. Just when he’s about to give it all up, the whole world experiences a 12-second blackout, and he ends up in a bad bike wreck. When he wakes up, he realizes that he is the only person in the world who remembers The Beatles and their extensive music oeuvre. He decides to take the opportunity and play their songs off as his own, and as his fame gets bigger and bigger, he grows farther apart from his manager and love interest Ellie, played by Lily James. Let’s be honest, many people have thought about this sort of premise before one way or another. Even if it weren’t specifically about The Beatles, we’ve all thought of being the only ones who remembered an artist’s work. No matter how derivative the rest of the film would be, I was curious to see how it would handle that. Both Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis can be hit-or-miss for me, with films ranging from truly great to just plain boring. The two of them coming together for a Beatles-centric project seemed like a really fascinating cinematic team-up of sorts. But execution proves to once again be a different world than reality because Yesterday just doesn’t live up to its premise. In all seriousness, I’m not at all convinced that The Beatles were the only band that could’ve made the movie work. The lack of real specificity makes it feel like ANY artist could have sufficed for the Fab Four, even though Jack clearly gets success on a global scale. And even then, we don’t really get to see the full extent of what effect this sort of worldwide amnesia, aside from seeing that Oasis and Harry Potter have also disappeared. Instead, Yesterday pulls a full Richard Curtis and is focused mainly on the romance between Jack and Ellie, which is totally fine. But the problem is that neither one of them really have their own agency, and it often feels like Jack just wants to “get the girl.” And because of that, the movie feels just a few steps away from swinging from sappily romantic to just sort of icky. For what it’s worth, Himesh Patel makes a pretty strong big screen debut here as Jack Malik. For much of the film, he struggles with trying to be his own creative artist and giving millions of fans songs he didn’t even write in the first place. On top of that, he also has a really great singing voice, whether it’s in private to his family and friends or on stage in front of a massive crowd. Lily James co-stars alongside him as Ellie, his former manager and longtime love interest. She’s a great actress and she does fine in the role, but she never really feels fleshed out enough to be a seriously compelling love interest. She and Patel have decent chemistry and the movie is almost always best whenever it shows the increasing rift in their relationship. James Corden and Ed Sheeran make amusing appearances as fictional versions of themselves while Kate McKinnon, Lamorne Morris, Joel Fry, Sophia Di Martino, and Ellise Chappell play various friends and acquaintances of Jack’s inside the music industry. Really, the only one who’s able to make anything of an impression- and I can’t believe I’m saying this -is Sheeran. Although he doesn’t appear in the movie too much, he does have some funny lines sprinkled throughout, and even a couple instances where we get to hear him sing. And technically speaking, Yesterday feels like a couple of different creative voices speaking over each other. Christopher Ross’ cinematography often feels flat and uninspired, picking the most bland angles for various scenes. While they’re spliced together nice enough, the lack of flair and out-of-place lighting feels somewhat wrong for the story. During concert scenes, there are a number of swooping crowd shots and of Jack’s performing skills, which work fairly well. It’s use of color for various scenes should also be noted, as the colors are more vibrant and alive during the big performances but cold and muted whenever Jack is doing business with an industry professional. But this also clashes with the editing job by Boyle’s longtime collaborator Jon Harris. Many scenes transition from one to the next in an extremely flashy fashion, typical of the director. This includes quick montages of Jack climbing exponentially in the music world and having massive text flood the screen with headlines. That’s all well and good, but it totally feels at conflict with the relatively lowkey cinematography and lighting. The few times both come together nicely is when Jack is being interviewed by someone like James Corden and he thinks they’re onto his secret, only for it to be his own anxiety. The film definitely needed more of that rather than what we ultimately got. When all is said and done, Yesterday is a disappointing misuse of a compelling setup and excellent music. Even though their idiosyncrasies seem like the perfect odd couple, Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis just don’t seem like a great fit, at least not for this material. Himesh Patel definitely has an exciting future ahead of him as an actor, but his major debut could have certainly been a lot better. I’m confident someone one day will make a great movie about The Beatles, but for now it’s still a long and winding road.