By: Lana K. Wilson-Combs
may not be a household name yet, but his impressive, big screen debut in the romantic, music comedy, “Yesterday”
might make him one.
Prior to "Yesterday" Patel starred on the BBC soap opera “EastEnders.”
In “Yesterday,” from Academy Award winning director Danny Boyle
(“Slumdog Millionaire”) and screenwriter Richard Curtis
(“Four Weddings & A Funeral”), Patel plays Jack Milak, an aspiring singer/songwriter from England.
Jack often gets frustrated because no one outside of his family and a small circle of friends go to his shows. Still, he hustles and hopes for that big break.
Thankfully his best friend and love interest/manager Ellie Appleton (the delightful Lily James, “Mama Mia! Here We Go Again”) thinks the world of Jack and his music. She’s the best thing in his life although it takes him a minute to realize it.
The saying that inspiration can strike at any time proves true, but in a crazy way for Jack. One night after a disastrous performance in Sussex, Jack is riding his bike home when there’s a 12 second worldwide blackout. He’s hit and nearly killed by a bus.
When Jack awakes from his hospital bed, get this, he’s the only person who knows about the Beatles and all their music. It’s as if the group never existed. Yet Jack knows every
single song. Well, here comes the sun.
Jack seizes this miraculous opportunity and claims the Beatles songs as his own compositions. During a get together with Ellie and his friends, Jack, still looking kind of silly with his two front teeth missing, tells them about some songs he wrote.
He launches into “Yesterday” and everyone is floored. Almost everyone. One of his friends tells him it’s a very good song, but “it’s not Coldplay.” What the hell.
Jack’s songwriting and singing catch the attention of singer Ed Sheeran. Sheeran is naturally funny. Who knew?
He drops by Jack’s house surprising him and his oddball parents, Sheila and Jed (Meera Syal, “The Nutcracker and the Four Realms”) and Sanjeev Bhaskar (TV’s “The Porters”).
Sheeran tells Jack that he’s a big fan of his work and even suggests he change the title of “Hey Jude” to “Hey Dude.” There’s also a funny scene when Sheeran challenges Jack to write a catchy song in 10 minutes. Sheeran comes back with a decent ballad. Jack launches into “The Long and Winding Road.” Game over. Sheeran says it’s the best song he’s ever heard and wonder’s how Jack cranks this great music out so easily. Of course, we know, he’s getting by with a little help from his friends.
Jack’s superstar status comes with a price. His success has pushed Ellie to the side. He’s also allowed Sheeran’s overzealous manager/agent Debra Hammer (Kate McKinnon, TV’s “Saturday Night Live”) to take control of his career. For the record, this is McKinnon’s best performance yet.
Despite his stardom, Jack is consumed with guilt and wonders just how long he’ll be able to keep up the charade. It all comes to a head when he takes the stage to perform.
“Yesterday” is a charming love story that doesn’t get too sappy. And I also enjoyed Joel Fry (TV’s “Requiem”) who is hilarious as Patel’s friend Rocky. Most of all, "Yesterday" is a glowing tribute to The Beatles and their enormous body of music.
As for Hamish Patel, he’s flat out sensational. He truly carries “Yesterday.” It’s a delightful and charming summer treat.
Be sure to catch my N2Entertainment.net movie talk segment on the Kitty O'Neal Show Fridays now at 6:20 p.m. on radio station KFBK 1530 AM and 93.1 FM.
Check Out This Trailer For "YESTERDAY"
Lana K. Wilson-Combs is a member of The Broadcast Film Critics’ Association (BFCA), The Black Film Critics Circle (BFCC), The Alliance Of Women Film Journalists (AWFJ) and a Nominating Committee Voting Member for the NAACP Image Awards.