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Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) and Ellie (Lily James) star in "Yesterday," a movie perfect for any Beatles fan. 

Universal Pictures released a film filled with love, simplicity, emotions and music. ‘Yesterday’ arrived in theaters Friday. It received a 60% rating from Rotten Tomatoes on opening day and made $1.3 million within 24 hours. While it’s based on The Beatles’ music, the movie also focuses on the importance of appreciating the things life has given someone.

Jack Malik, played by Himesh Patel, is a singer-songwriter who dreams of making it big but struggles with breaking into the business. One night, he gets hit by a bus while riding his bike. When he wakes up in the hospital, his friend and manager, Ellie, (Lilly James), tells him there’d been a 12 second worldwide power outage. Malik checks out of the hospital and sees his friends who give him a couple of presents, including a new guitar because his was destroyed in the accident.

With the new guitar, he plays “Yesterday” by The Beatles. Touched by the song’s music and lyrics, his friends ask him when he wrote it because they’ve never heard it before. In that moment, he realizes he’s woken up in a world without The Beatles. Jack then decides to start playing their music instead of his own material, knowing the potential of the legendary hits.

Once word gets out about his incredible songwriting talent, he’s approached by Ed Sheeran and his recording manager who want him to sign a recording contract. Soon, he’s the biggest artist in the world. He’s quickly overwhelmed when his new career and personal life get out of control.  

The casting director selected some incredible actors to appear in the film, including Sheeran, who made his movie debut. Although Sheeran’s acting skills need some work, his musical talent is a terrific addition. This was Patel’s first major motion picture, and he was dramatically and vocally on point. When Malik was a guest on a talk show that aired in his hometown of Lowestoft, England, Sheeran saw him perform and wanted him as an opening act for his tour, making Sheeran and his shows major components in the movie. With his newfound fame, Malik replaces Ellie with “Saturday Night Live” cast member and comedian Kate McKinnon as his new manager.

The producers of ‘Yesterday’ used The Beatles’ music to convey the message of enjoying and cherishing what one has because things might not always be as they seem. Even though Malik achieves his dream of stardom, he soon realizes it’s not as genuine as he thought it’d be. For example, his new manager even refers to him as a “product.”

The movie went deeper into the current music industry, showing a more stressful and money-hungry side of production.

In years past, musicians sat down with an instrument, wrote a song, recorded it then released it. The idea of The Beatles creating albums out of their passion for music is a perfect comparison between then and now. When Malik notices this, he realizes the importance of staying true to himself. Building on this realization, Malik decides that making music with Ellie was what he wanted more than the life of a global sensation.

This is the perfect movie for those who love The Beatles. The film’s entire soundtrack is Beatles’ hits such as “Yesterday,” “All You Need is Love,” “Let it Be,” “Hey Jude” and other favorites. They also incorporate some iconic Beatles locations. After telling his manager he’s travelling to Liverpool for inspiration, Malik actually visits the barber shop on Penny Lane, Eleanor Rigby’s tombstone and Strawberry Fields in an attempt to refresh his memory of the lyrics of these popular songs. Fans may enjoy this glimpse into the history of The Beatles. 

Movie-goers are in for a treat with this meaningful and musical motion picture. It not only reminds people of one of the most iconic rock bands of all time, but also the importance of being grateful for what life has given them. As true today as it was in 1967, “Yesterday” portrays that all we need is love.

Contact Gracie Brogowski at brogowsx@dukes.jmu.edu. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.