Few films released this year have the remarkable pedigree of Yesterday. Its director is the Oscar-winning Danny Boyle, henceforth referred to as a national treasure because of his work on the Olympics opening ceremony in 2012, and its screenwriter is Richard Curtis, king of the heartfelt and intelligent romantic comedy. Its subject, likewise, could not be more quintessentially English if its cast were attired in Union Jack costumes and being driven around in red buses.
Boyle and Curtis have imagined a world in which, after a freakish electrical storm, no-hope singer-songwriter Jack Malik (newcomer Himesh Patel) finds himself the only person who still knows the songs of the Beatles, which have otherwise been wiped from history. Cue his unlikely rise to super-stardom. It should be heartwarming, witty and poignant, but it just isn’t. So what has gone so badly wrong?