It would be awfully difficult to dispute the claim that The Beatles are the most famous band in the history of pop music. But the entire population of the world in Yesterday, the new film from Danny Boyle, responds to the name of the group with a puzzled, “The whotles?
It’s a fairly straightforward, albeit high-concept, premise, but it looks like Boyle’s follow-up to the misfire of T2 Trainspotting will be one of his most light-hearted affairs. Himesh Patel stars as a wannabe rock star who increasingly sees his dreams of success as a foolish mistake, his longtime best friend Ellie (Lily James) his only real fan. But after an accident during an inexplicable global blackout, he awakes to learn that he’s now in a world where the Fab Four never existed—and neither do any of their songs, most of which he knows by heart. Armed with some of the catchiest tunes ever written, he quickly ascends to massive fame with the help of an American agent (Kate McKinnon), only to find that a con still feels hollow even when no one will ever know the truth but you.
The tone of the trailer is antic and breezy, and while the former is very much Boyle’s standard operating procedure, he usually weds it to outsized drama or high-minded concerns. Basically, it looks a bit like the Dany Boyle equivalent of a rom-com, but with a deep catalogue of songs by Paul and John matched only by something like Across The Universe. We’ll see if the results are smart or saccharine when Yesterday comes out June 28.