Review: YESTERDAY Wants To Hold Your Hand


Yesterday works more as a love letter to The Beatles than anything else, offering a solidly enjoyable time listening to the music of the British Invasion.
Technical Merit

Yesterday, directed by Danny Boyle (Trainspotting) and written by Richard Curtis (Love Actually) is the ultimate film for casual and hardcore Beatles fans alike. The movie tells the story of a struggling musician who gets into an accident and wakes up to discover that he is the only person in the world who knows that the Beatles ever existed.

The story plays out exactly how you would expect: the protagonist starts at the bottom, makes his way to the top, and ultimately realizes that fame and fortune isn’t going to make him happy. However, this rags-to-riches tale is such a frequently used trope because it is compelling and heartwarming. When you go to see a movie like this, you aren’t hoping to see something revolutionary or enlightening, you just want to have some fun and listen to Beatles music, and in that regard, it works.

The character development in the film is also very strong and one of the main reasons why the movie works so well. It is hard not to love the protagonist, Jack Malick, because his passion and ambition is infectious and endearing. His relationship with his romantic interest, Ellie, is also very compelling (although a bit frustrating at times), even if Ellie isn’t given much to do outside of being Jack’s motivation to change.

Breakout star Himesh Patel is cast perfectly in his lead role, infusing the character with a ton of charm and making the film far more entertaining. Patel is very talented, as both a singer and an actor, so his career will only go up from here. His chemistry with co-star Lily James is great, who is herself at the top of her game, giving a fun and ditzy turn. The only real weak link in the cast is Kate McKinnon, who is woefully miscast as the aggressive manager in an ineffective attempt at comedic relief. Ed Sheeran plays himself in a comedic relief role already, so McKinnon’s casting is unnecessary.

yesterday performance

That being said, the best part of the movie is watching Patel cover some of your favorite Beatles songs in unique ways. The rights to the music likely accounted for a majority of the film’s budget, so it is surprising that a majority of the music used are the most popular tunes. It would have been nice to hear more of their experimental stuff, like “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” or “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band”, but perhaps they wouldn’t have fit with the tone of the movie.

The pacing of the film is certainly uneven, which is likely the movie’s biggest flaw apart from general predictability. The beginning of the film is very strong, as it gives you a good introduction into the characters and their world. However, from the time the accident occurs to the time when the Jack begins performing the Beatles’ music feels a bit too long. A few moments also drag towards the end of the second act, but those are less noticeable.

Additionally, the movie isn’t quite a home run on a technical level. Boyle is one of the most talented filmmakers working today, there’s no doubt about that — it’s just that his style may not have been fit to this script. For example, the cinematography is filled with canted angles that are in the film for no good reason. The movie is at its best when Boyle uses montages, making them almost like miniature music videos. The rest of the film looks and feels off-putting.

Yesterday certainly isn’t the most groundbreaking movie, but it is a good time, especially if you are a fan of the music that is such a large part of the film. This will be a hit with older audiences feeling nostalgic about the times of music past.

Yesterday hits theaters on June 28.


Black Box – Official Trailer

#WelcomeToTheBlumhouse #BlackBoxMovie Directed by Emmanuel Osei-Kuffour Jr. (Born With It) and script by Osei-Kuffour Jr. and Stephen Herman, Black Box stars Mamoudou Athie (Jurassic World 3, The Circle), Phylicia Rashad (Creed), Amanda Christine (Colony), Tosin Morohunfola (The Chi, The 24th), Charmaine Bingwa (Trees of Peace, Little Sista), and Troy James (The Flash, Scary Stories to…

The Great British Baking Show (Collection 8) | Official Trailer | Netflix

The competition heats up as a fresh batch of bakers — and a crispy new presenter — put their sweet spin on delectable edibles. SUBSCRIBE: About Netflix: Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with 193 million paid memberships in over 190 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries and feature films across a wide…

‘Cartoon Trump & Biden’s Dueling Town Halls’ Ep. 311 Cold Open | Our Cartoon President

Addressing undecided voters before the election, Cartoon Trump talks climate disaster, Black Lives Matter protests, and migrant sterilization with Cartoon George Stephanopoulos while Cartoons Anderson Cooper and Kamala Harris try to reign in Cartoon Joe Biden. Watch new episodes of Our Cartoon President on Sundays at 8:30/7:30c on SHOWTIME. #OurCartoonPresident Subscribe to the SHOWTIME YouTube…

Star Trek: Discovery – Get To Know Grudge, The Cat

Star Trek: Discovery's third season introduces quite a few new characters, and one of them happens to be a large, fluffy cat named Grudge. Get a behind-the-scenes look at filming with Leeu, the feline who portrays her. Stream the Season 3 premiere of “Star Trek: Discovery” on Thursday, Oct. 15, exclusively in the U.S. on…

Niko Gutiérrez-Kovner | The Latinx List • All Accents Welcome

Niko Gutiérrez-Kovner sits down with his parents for a conversation about Latin Heritage Month and representation in TV and film. ABOUT THE LATINX LIST The Black List has teamed with Hulu for the 2020 Latinx List, which focuses one-hour and half-hour original pilots written by at least one Latinx writer and featuring a Latinx or…

Fargo | Installment 4: Click Click Bang Teaser | FX

Listen to the sounds of war. The all-new Fargo premieres September 27th on FX. Next day FX on Hulu. Subscribe now for more Fargo clips: The fourth installment of Fargo is set in 1950 Kansas City, where two crime syndicates fighting for a piece of the American dream have struck an uneasy peace. Chris…

Stars and Strife | Documentary | STARZ

As a nation, we must work to end division and rediscover empathy. Watch #StarsAndStrife now on the #STARZ App. Subscribe to the STARZ YouTube Channel for more documentaries: Get your free trial of the STARZ app: Like STARZ on Facebook: Follow STARZ on Twitter: Follow STARZ on Instagram: Visit STARZ…

Hispanic Heritage Month | STARZ

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage with us all month long! Enjoy your favorites like #Vida, #TheSpanishPrincess, #MaidinManhattan, and more on the #STARZ App now. #STARZ Subscribe to the STARZ YouTube Channel for more: Like STARZ on Facebook: Follow STARZ on Twitter: Follow STARZ on Instagram: Visit STARZ on YouTube:
Sean Boelman
Sean is a film student, aspiring filmmaker, and life-long cinephile. For as long as he can remember, he has always loved film, but he credits the film Pan's Labyrinth as having started his love of film as art. Sean enjoys watching many types of films, although some personal favorite genres include dramatic comedies, romantic comedies, heist films, and art horror.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here