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Life without Beatles? - Movie Review

MOVIE REVIEW: Imagine there's no Beatles, it's not easy, even if you try. No Come Together, not even Ticket to Ride. ... You get the idea, and it's the terrific premise of YESTERDAY which hits cinemas next week.

Any movie played against the backdrop of the soundtrack of the lives of a generation (or four) is going to draw an audience, the very concept of a world without the music of John, Paul, George and Ringo anathema to so many of us.

Roll in a liberal dose of humour, not to mention Ed Sheeran in a key supporting role - playing himself, probably not the biggest stretch - and you have the makings of a little movie gem.

Struggling singer-songwriter Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) has just decided to forgo his dreams of "making it" when he becomes the victim of a freak accident during a global blackout.

Not long after Jack comes to, he makes the startling discovery The Beatles have never existed. No-one has heard of John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison or Ringo Starr, let alone their music.

There's that whole catalogue of sensational songs that helped shape the world in the 60s ... if only Jack could remember all the lyrics!

Get ready for a joyride through the music and the angst as Jack's road to stardom means some hard choices, especially where his ever supportive childhood friend and manager Ellie (a delightful Lily James) is concerned.

And what a joyous surprise twist is in store late in the piece for all Beatles fans.

But to say more would be to take the gloss off a truly happy and heart-warming comedy, the direction of Danny Boyle (SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE) keeping it light, but never breezy.

There's substance here, and hearing these Beatles tracks stripped back to mostly guitar-led songs makes you want to go home and get those great old LPs back on the turntable.

Patel handles the excitement and guilt of palming off The Beatles' work as his own with all appropriate angst, though why he can't see Ellie is madly in love with him is a mystery best left for a magical tour of some kind.

If you haven't seen it in the trailer, then spoiler alert. But when Ed Sheeran is recommending Jack update "Hey Jude" to "Hey Dude", you know you are having a fun night out. What more could you ask for?

Rating: A winner?

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Jun 20

Content, unless otherwise indicated, is © copyright Boti Nagy.