Pssst, want to check out Yesterday in our new look?
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Yesterday is the rare movie that is exactly as you would expect based on previews. It hits all the expected notes both literally and figuratively and only has few surprises
Nonetheless, despite its routine nature, the film is a fine example of a perfectly serviceable fan tribute. It’s fun, joyful, and carries itself and its fan material well. Himesh Patel is great fun to watch, though his female counterpart is outshone by him. He is truly the best part of the film.
There’s a number of clunky transitions where characters move along from situations without real motivation, but it’s a silly fantasy film and the flaws are forgiven.
Good fun, great for fans, strong lead, not terribly groundbreaking.
3.5 stars out of 5
Look, I'm probably never going to not like a Richard Curtis script, so Yesterday worked for me despite the evident remix of elements from across his career (especially Nottinghill and Love, Actually. As ever, he is interested in relationships between celebrities and normal people, and with popular music, of course. The conceit here is that a space-time event erases a number of things from history, including the music of the Beatles. You can't look at this as a proper "what if?" because there's not much of a butterfly effect, but it's well-played for comedy in the first act, and as (totally stealing from my friend Marty here, because it's a brilliant observation) a metaphor for impostor syndrome later. I don't really think the film manages to meaningfully answer the question as to whether these songs have power outside their original context, it just assumes they do, and that's fine. Yesterday means to be a loving tribute to the Beatles' music, and to their inherent message of love. Himesh Patel is a fine comedy star, generating great pathos and selling his character's moral dilemma. Lily James is a treasure who lights up the room. Kate McKinnon is hilarious as a too-close-to-the-truth record company villain. And good on Ed Sheeran (himself an unlikely star, physically, so he probably relates to Jack Malik's story) for laughing at himself this much. Director Danny Boyle gets in his own way sometimes - this is a small, indie-type story and works best when he lays off the camera tricks - but Yesterday still stands as a charming almost-musical. And best use of Google in a movie?
to see which of your friends have seen this movie!