To enjoy this to the utmost it will help enormously if you're an admirer of Beatles' songs.
In an original and very good idea with plenty of mileage in it, Himesh Patel (in his first cinema feature) plays a supermarket worker on the East Anglian coast. He's an aspiring solo rock singer in his own time, unappreciated and downcast, when he has a traffic accident at the exact same moment that there's a global power shutdown, waking up in hospital to be supported by his girlfriend (Lily James) and much all-round sympathy. Resuming his role as guitar-playing singer he's astonished to find out that through some worldwide time quirk the existence of the Beatles and all their output has been erased from history. (Lest you think as I did, why just the Beatles?, I must reveal that though the film turns on this singular omission there are other features of the past that have also vanished from collective memory). So, on realising this particular absence, he starts playing that group's repertoire, passing the songs off as his own compositions, and he quickly gets noticed and lauded, first locally, then nationally and very soon worldwide. One of his early noticers and admirers is Ed Sheeran in a 'jolly good sport' cameo - quite effective actually - guiding him into recording studio. His fame takes him to L.A. with appearances on T.V. and live on stage in front of many thousands, all in tune with his status of overnight international sensation. Meanwhile his girlfriend becomes ever more bewildered by his experience and understandably feels a significant alienation between the two of them. I'd thought that he might get increasingly disillusioned by the fraud he was perpetrating, known only to himself (or was it?) and decide to own up and.......
But not knowing for sure how this tale could end, my guess being that another global power shutdown would revert the world to a Beatles-awareness state with its universal amnesia now transferred to Patel's bogus claims, while he returned to his independent struggles as before. That a rather cheesily predictable final act takes place may have been a bit of a let-down, which was preceded by a couple of unexpected.....insertions, rather than 'turns', one of them bordering on the outrageous. But so what - it's a fantasy film!
To have as director none other than Danny Boyle himself, whose films, even the less successful ones, can never be ignored, is a fine capture, and he rarely reaches for the obvious, keeping up a cracking pace all through. And to complete the twin behind-the-camera achievement, it's a screenplay (and story co-author) by the one and only Richard Curtis ('Notting Hill', 'Four Weddings' 'Love Actually') who only betrays here his sometimes tendency to reach for cloying sentiment in the final minutes.
If you're not as enamoured of Beatles' songs as some of us are I can offer you the slight comfort that none are performed entirely, while many of them are in mere snatches.
I enjoyed this a lot, its close on two-hours length flying by, largely because we didn't know what would happen next - and we cared!
A nifty and satisfying piece of cinema................7.5.
(IMDb.............7.1 / Rott. Toms...........4.33/5 )
3 hours ago