Yesterday (2019) Poster

(III) (2019)

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10/10
"Well, I'll bet you I'm gonna be a big star".
bob-the-movie-man21 June 2019
Warning: Spoilers
There are some movies that when released simply don't need a big marketing campaign. Just a few words of description of the plot are enough to put it on your "must see" list: "A struggling musician has a cycling accident during a freak global blackout and wakes to a world where noone other than him remembers the Beatles or any of their songs." When I heard this I said to myself "yes, Yes, YES"! But would it live up to my expectations?

This is a Richard Curtis penned film, and that's immediately enough to put a tranche of movie-goers off. All his movies have an accent on the uplifting, the positive and/or the whimsical, and I can understand why that winds some people up. If "Richard-Curtissy" was an adjective, and I think it should be, many of these films can be so classified.

Here, although again very Richard-Curtissy, I think he gets the mixture JUST RIGHT.... "Yesterday", for me, was a complete joy from beginning to end.

I imagine Curtis getting this story from a rowdy dinner party round his gaff. He asks his guests, over the third bottle of dessert wine, to play a wild and fantastical "what if" game (in pursuit of the "very good" spare brownie of course). At this particular event, I guess it was co-story-author Jack Barth (in his movie-writing debut) that made the successful attempt to "hog the brownie". For the premise of "Yesterday" is quite brilliant, whilst at the same time being utterly bonkers too!

That being said, the story is not completely original. I thought there were many similarities to the Ricky Gervais vehicle of 2009, "The Invention of Lying", where Gervais alone finds he suddenly has the ability to tell lies, and finds ill-gotten fortune and fame as a result. Much like that earlier film, much of the joy here is in the recognition of the gift given and the dawning realisation of what this might actually mean to him. As such, I found the first half of the film a lot more enjoyable than the second.

The conundrum facing Jack is to remeber all of the Beatles songs and their lyrics (without having Google as a reference), and much fun is had with him stumbling into situations that suddenly remind him of a new track or a particular snatch of lyric.

There is of course an obvious explanation for the whacky storyline, since the hero has received a potentially serious head injury. But would the film go there? (No spoilers here).

Himesh Patel is from TV's "Eastenders" but here makes his movie debut. He is perfectly cast as Jack Malik: in the film, he's a name about to rise from utter obscurity as a Lowestoft retail assistant to global superstardom. Patel is charming and believable as he squirms with his conscience. A surprising and touching beach scene in the final reel of the film is exquisitely acted.

The ever-watchable and utterly gorgeous Lily James here goes brunette: she was actually unrecognisable to me from both the trailer and the poster! Here she makes a very believable high-school teacher with a side-line in management and roadie-ing.

I found Ed Sheeran's cameo in "Bridget Jones Baby" to be excruciating! But here, in what is quite an extensive part, he is much, much better. I think he's been getting lessons.

One of the slight disappointments with the film is that it is a Danny Boyle film that doesn't FEEL like a Danny Boyle film. Aside from some inventive on-screen titles, I didn't detect much of the stylisation that I would expect from one of his films. Yes, there are occasional flashes of genius - for example, the scenes where Malik is desperately trying to remember the lyrics of Eleanor Rigby, and those of him watching, big screen, his own social-media led rise to super stardom. But otherwise, the visuals and storyline are pretty linear in nature.

Although there are cloyingly gooey bits of this film, the element that weaves it all together - such that "all is forgiven" in my book - is the magical music and lyrics of McCartney, Lennon and Harrison.

Was there a better year to be born that 1961? (Well, possibly the mid- to late- 50's so you were old enough to remember more of it). But although only a child aged between two and nine during their album releases, I felt the benefit of three older siblings who WERE able to fully embrace Beatlemania. And the film delights with its modern day recreations of the classic tracks and, as already mentioned, Himesh Patel belts them out wonderfully (especially, I thought, with "Help!").

I can't not give this one 10 stars. I simply loved it, and can't wait for its general release (in the UK, on June 28th 2019) so I can go and love it all over again. Is it technically a 10-star film? Possibly not, but sometimes you just have to go with the way a film makes you feel, not just as you walk, whistling, out of the cinema but for the whole of the next 48 hours and (I suspect) longer. In summary, he loves it. "Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeeeeeaaaaaah".

(This is an edited version. The full graphical review is available on "One Mann's Movies" on t'internet or Facebook. Please consider checking it out. Thanks!)
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10/10
The antidote to sequels and super heroes
jkanderson-7446129 June 2019
Refreshingly original and entertaining. The story flows and the characters are relatable and well developed. Not what I expected from the trailer but I liked it better than what I expected. So nice to see someone take a chance on an original story.
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9/10
Brilliant film
Just left the TriBeCa Film Festival where the film premiered, and I have to say, the film was superb. Everyone in the film is outstanding and Danny Boyle does a brilliant job handling some of the greatest songs ever written. Speaking of that, The Beatles legacy will forever live on with this film.
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9/10
Could've Been Hokey, Turned Out Great!
cizewski528 June 2019
I went into this wondering if they were going to explain the whole premise with it being a dream or such? Was he going to get caught and crucified for it? Was he going to get the girl, lose the girl? So many movies are fixated on realism and difficulties and negativity. Yes, he faces several difficulties. But, the movie is light and beautiful with fantastic music. If I want realism, I watch a documentary. This is what I go to the movies for. Really well done!
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6/10
Could have been great
oshanda1 July 2019
The original premise of the movie was fantastic - only one man knows that The Beatles ever existed and brings their music to the world.

It could have been really really great. Unfortunately the idea was under developed, it felt as if the film's makers weren't quite sure what to do with it.

It ended up being "nice" and "sweet" when it could have been brilliant.
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8/10
Refreshing
myshelledavies14 June 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I liked it. It was a refreshing change from the blockbuster superhero genre that is choking society. Jack's struggle with the dishonesty was obvious throughout the film. The music was superb. Ed Sheeran's portrayal of himself was super cute. I was a little worried the writer would take it over the top and Ed would decide Jack was better than he and decide to stop making music. I am very glad they didn't go there with the story. Jack coming clean near the end and the way he did it, was a good ending for me. Also the fact that The Beatles were not the only thing/person to disappear during the blackout was a fun touch. All in all, It was an emotional, fun, twist of a movie.
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8/10
Feel-good movie and a real crowd pleaser. I love it!
krazy-mm27 June 2019
Saw it at my cinema in Lovran, Croatia just a few hours ago, so it's still pretty "fresh" while I'm writing this. The whole idea is great, haven't seen those yet in mainstream cinema. The plot is pretty much straight-forward, with likeable characters, great music (of course) and when the movie was over, it left me with good feeling and a smile on my face still singing Hey Jude.

All actors are really good, but Lily James is so adorable in this movie! She shines in her character and steals every scene she is in. Liked her the most (obviously).

Take your girlfriend/boyfriend/friends/family to see this rom-com fantasy music comedy in cinema on a big screen, and even if you won't like the movie, you will sing Beatles songs after and feel good about it (guaranteed)!
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8/10
if you look for meaning in a standard format
veluciofilms4 July 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Of course the film is packaged within the most basic, cliched even, romcom format. Childhood sweethearts never expressed love for each other, then something happens, their relationship gets strained, until love wins and is declared publicly.

This isn't a whodunnit, you can guess the ending from the trailer. You will have seen countless films like this and you come to expect everything that happens to happen. Just as you expect a chorus after a verse in a Beatles song. Or any other pop song.

But within that outer layer there is a very interesting subject that the film explores: what if we lost something that brings us all together? What if we didn't have a shared cultural experience to which we all give the same meaning?

When the blackout happens, the Beatles are not the only thing that disappears from public memory: Jack googles "coke" and the search engine - which is what gives Meaning these days - displays a picture of Pablo Escobar. So when Jack asks a waitress for coke, it is not a ubiquitous beverage that the woman thinks of.

And so Jack finds himself with the opportunity to gain fame and riches by appropriating what had been a pillar of our post-war popular culture globally: the Beatles catalogue. Because the true premise of the film is this: everyone likes the Beatles. And Beatles songs therefore can be used by us all to communicate with each other.

Soon though Jack finds that the music has lost its universal meaning for the people who now appreciate "his" music. He is confronted with the ruthless pragmatism of the music industry, all the while being isolated by his alien cultural baggage and climb to fame.

So when he reunites with the only two other people unaffected by the blackout, he finds that meaning again, and the plot finally twists.

This isn't a film about the Beatles' music, it isn't a documentary about their legacy - it's a film about a world suddenly losing shared experience, about losing a "consensus" that brought us together.

That's why I thought the ending, the other part of the ending, the one I'm not going to spoil, was so uplifting and progressive. Go watch it.
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10/10
My guess is that the people hating on this film are all under 35 years old
eoswaldbigred28 June 2019
What a sweet, wonderful film. Even if you didn't grow up with The Beatles music like I did, you should have a great appreciation for this film. Whoever came up with the idea is a genius. The acting is wonderful, the direction seems to be having as much fun as the actors are, the music is, well, mostly The Beatles, but with new and fun arrangements that pay so much honor to the originals. And with the sweet little twists, this movie does have a simple, but touching moral. Plus you've got Kate McKinnon, who can read a phone book and be amazing (you kids under 35 won't know what a phone book is).

If you need two hours to forget about all the bad things in this world or in your life and to just feel happy, go see this movie!
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9/10
A great movie to "Come Together" with family and friends
championscon27 June 2019
Hey, there is a moment in every one's life when you need a break, and you need to remember that life can be simple, can be romantic, can be wistful, can be about remembering what matters and why. This movie is not about fixing the world or fixing the audience, it is about bringing a smile to your face while providing a special pleasure that we did not know we were missing out on: the one that allow us to revel in the sound, poetry and consciousness of one of the most iconic band the music scene has known. I enjoyed the movie with my kid, who used to sing the Beatles when she was a toddler and that turned into a teenager not particularly interested in the music her parent enjoyed, who had as much a blast as I did during the movie. The acting rand true, the emotion were genuine and the music was a blast, there is absolutely no reason to miss out on this cool concept and movie.
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9/10
A Brilliant Original Story with a Wonderful Moving Ending
howells-9466520 June 2019
After Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman. Yesterday is the next movie based on the classic song sang by a classic musicians. But unlike Bohemian Rhapsody and Rocketman which are biography movies. Yesterday is a fantasy comedy movie which is a different take from the previous two. Did the movie deliver or did the movie disappoint. After seeing the first trailer back in February I was very interested in the its unique concept of the movie.

The plot for the movie centers around Jack Malek who is a struggling musician until he had a bus crash while power was turned off about 12 seconds he then finds out that he is the only person who knows the songs of the Beatles.

The movie delivered on its premised in a lot of levels. The performances by Himesh Patel and Lily James was excellent they had great chemistry and you can feel their friendship grew throughout the movie. I thought Ed Sheeran wasn't that bad in the movie and he was a lot better than I expecting considering that most real life musicians acting was mostly bad. The movie featured lots of classic Beatles which was great even though Let It Be was on briefly I was expecting a full version of the record in the movie. But that didn't ruin the whole movie. The ending of movie was very moving and emotional don't going to say anything about the ending but it was lovely ending.

Overall the movie was excellent it was original but unlike a lot of original movies that has a great premise but didn't deliver this movie does deliver with great performances and a wonderful ending this movie is to enjoy by everyone who loves the the Beatles or just want to have a great fun time at the cinema. I highly recommend it.
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10/10
What is not to like about this exceptional movie?
lilygracekennedy29 June 2019
This film is an absolutely beautiful story that depicts the Beatles' success in such a unique and brilliant way.

Himesh Patel (Jack Malik) has an incredible voice and is absolutely perfect for his role. Lily James (Ellie Appleton) is also the perfect person for her role as she depicts a very sweet school teacher who has been desperate for Jack to love him since they met. This is also why the romantic element in this film is flawless and heartwarming, particularly towards the end of the film.

The film is also very funny and all the cast do an excellent job of making the audience laugh. Ed Sheeran (playing himself) is hilarious and I am very glad that he agreed to be a part of this film.

Do you enjoy the Beatles and their songs? Comedy? Romance? Fantasy? If you enjoy any of these things, I guarantee you will love this film and I recommend you see it as soon as possible!
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6/10
The Movie Was OK, The Music Was Brilliant
martimusross20 June 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Yesterday

So much of this movie was charming, brilliantly acted, and inventive, however somewhere around the middle of the movie, (the missing the train scene) it just turned into a big farce. The plot just became unbelievable, it also turned corny and over-sentimental. Of course I accept the whole movie was built on supernatural premise but what follows must hang together and keep the audience rooting for our hero.

What was good:

1, I loved the music, I think this made the movie.

2, Jack Malik, played by Himesh Patel, did a fine job, he has mastered irony and deadpan, we were all wanted this antihero to have his dream.

What was challenging;

1, the plot was either so corny or so contrived, some plot twists were just unnecessary and added nothing.

2, Elle, played by Lily James, lost our sympathy, she was presented as needy and pathetic and just as the culmination of him achieving "their" dream, she tries to make him choose between his dream and her.

3, The conclusion was unsatisfactory, he wanted to be a musician and was fabulous at it, he ended up a teacher, big mistake.

Overall, the was an overly contrived feel good movie, I enjoyed whilst I was watching it, but feel cheated and unsatisfied at the end.
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10/10
Brilliant
whitehallnorfolk29 June 2019
I'm no film buff. This ticked all my boxes. Great music, and every emotion covered. It's not deep but in its own way it digs deeper than most. Love, love love it!
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Ownership is up for grabs in the 21st century
ReadingFilm18 July 2019
Oscar. Apple. Olympics. Bond. Beatles. Boyle asks his own phenomenon from his hyper90s counter culture roots resting comfortably inside an exploration of impostor syndrome.

Now it is one of the defining questions ahead of us, specifically for the dearth of culture encircling us is this notion of authorship being on the same spectrum as our great debates in identity; as in the right to ownership not a tangible notion. This is not just music but a kind of test of western privilege. Who hasn't thought of the exact concept? But to actually go there is almost a cultural event, to peel into our counterfeit solipsism in search of their yearning for authenticity. That is not a judgment--this is an endpoint in late stage capitalism rendering the individual dreamer as something from 'yesterday'. At first it is indeed him and not the music so he fails, until it second guesses itself that no, it is the music. It posits with the frame of art, real life is the gimmick; then adopting the frame becomes the frame. Identity. So the question of interest is not 'what if the Beatles' but, what if millennials, in wearing said identity, had a soul? Okay but then what if there was a World War in the 80s to lead to such identities? As to what sort of cultural madness could lead to the Beatles requires some great collective trauma or societal movement to unite a culture in a renaissance. As is, escalating streamlining of privilege was our renaissance hence identity in search of. Millennial cultural reactions are now fragments of regurgitation then our lack of culture becomes the subject bringing a hall of mirrors to show identities for choosing. We envied stuff once happened. It all reflects this complex prism of Boyle's self-insert in impostor syndrome; he began as an enfant-terrible after all so his success may be, on some level, a confusion for him. Here, the 60s without the 60s in the vessel of the millennial power fantasy it's basically yet another look at the Beatles through a deconstructing lens; they are, after all, so iconic and ingrained, even archetypal, that films exploring them tend to be conceptual, even metaphysical as their era championed solipsistic illusory gone to harmony. Spiritualism on the same curve as their elfish pranking. Meaning films about the Beatles are their very own sort of postmodern gag. Adapted for today in the post-youtube age they come to reflect where youth meets the hyper age, fragmenting cultural heroism, and the fallout; lo and behold renaissances are a threat. Remember we envied being 'in on it' as the machines left us behind. With all things equal in the algorithm, all of those YouTube stars got too big, then the world war was corporate in nature against 'you' actually tubing... which puts The Beatles with today at a discrepancy: a counter-culture in an age without culture... and the best compliment I can give is the film does seem to account for this, in fact its entire purpose is to explore the divide. Many reviews asked, where is the phenomenon? The conspiracies? Paul is dead when Paul actually 'is' dead. The closest thing we have to a blowback here are the old ones: "We remember those songs." Rather they once remember there was a society. The film contrasts culture with society interestingly enough.

Lennon's peaceful life came at the cost of a meaningful one: in this black mirror what if we are so lazy and complacent other people are writing our own songs, so we live every life at once. This is the exact convenience of post-culture, post-capitalistic streamlining, automation, post-individual, post-heroes journey, now hero being collectivist no longer requiring us. Thus in the frame of revolution, without war, art is war. Here they got their love and peace and excused themselves from use in the process. Of course this is naive in the age of information war but also exactly anticipating. The film brings forth it's a virtual projection through visuals constantly as Boyle evolves the 90s videostore brat MTV aesthetic into YouTube video art, finding it works. A hologram through VR goggles. Choose life. Choose the next life. Autoplay will take them to Harry Potter, as the film hints.

"The Shakespeare of pop music." Of course! But even Shakespeare is being re-defined as representing some sort of imperialist western thinking. All this could ring horribly false but Boyle is too smart that he nudges subtext constantly. For the criticism of Yesterday with how the global infringes on the western accomplishment as a middle finger to capitalism's cherished heroes, I think he is aware of every problem with this being a giant tantrum, and actively counters with his craft. His best weapon is the simple sincerity of the lead performance in turmoil. The impostor woeful against the 60s. Fast after learning it's about the music, he learns it's not about the music at all.

So it goes to love. Contrast the sociopath executive with Jack where somehow both in their artifice create two distinct halves. See the betrayal being exactly like a lover scorned. 'What if millennials had soul?' They would meet other millennials without it. 'What if music?' What if not? This comes at the time of his realization in feeling. So it's two loves: the childhood love and the proxy love with the exec, but love is the millennial love for themselves. So voila. The songs were a narcissistic proxy--no longer about an age, but revealing his desire for stardom for its own sake--and here is where cinema and music so abstractly collide for pointing the camera at something invisible, which all the best films do. It's that every song seems to push him deeper, as these lists of women the Beatles sang about were all post-it notes and he's watching people who lived life, lived culture, and reflected it back as a voice of a generation, and a generation who received and understood 'why', sees it all missing here. "It's just good to hear the songs."

Malik comes to learn the most authentic way of being the music is the love on the table. In fact, he has to learn it directly from Lennon! The film's irony, weren't the songs enough? Blasting 'love' over and over? Rather the songs are not songs but monoliths he sings without understanding them. The millennial frame becomes Lennon's. Enlightenment ensues. "All you need is love" he finally gets it after thousands of performances.

Most fascinating for me is how the frame of the songs suddenly makes this loser feel like a deity to us...despite we very well know the lie. Even -we- deceive ourselves inside this con of identity persuasion, hence today in every form. My favorite is the utter dread we feel that the lie would be exposed, which are almost like jump scares. This is where it stands that Boyle is so close to being a grandmaster of cinema that he can tweak and maneuver the film to thoroughly exhaust every single perspective. But he's only close in his humility; he's right there with us constantly asking and prodding and tearing his hair out about the Beatles asking 'how'. Boyle humbly steps back as a Sheeran not John though we see his virtuosity in an experimental pop frame and tip our caps how his career trajectory has some Beatles-ish mischief flowing through his veins. (I sense something after Steve Jobs brought him to stare down the hyper-age.)

That its conclusion about authorship is not so clear is a subtle one. He was, after all, the author of the songs in the parallel world, and was needed to represent something missing from the world, as all artists feel. The most Beatles like thing to do would have been to own it and play his confession off as a prank saying, "John Paul George and Ringo? Oh those were the names of elves whispering in my ears." The oldies morally excused him after all. Excused as a film it must end with an authentic moral act, and my problem is love was no victory in the frame of his ascent to greatness, which ended with a shrug; wouldn't years and years of channeling the greats have rubbed off on him? Wouldn't finding his authenticity finally give him something to write about? I wanted one of his own songs to be received there within the tracklists between the hits.
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6/10
Slightly disappointing
FrenchEddieFelson29 June 2019
To cut a long story short, with a film directed by Danny Boyle and based on a legendary band such as The Beatles, I was expecting significantly better, although the movie is definitely not bad. The love story between Jack Malik and Ellie Appleton is excellently interpreted by Himesh Patel and the gorgeous Lily James, while Kate McKinnon vervely interprets a sickening impresario. But the movie is globally disappointing with a certain flatness and a script suffering from a blatant lack of originality: the « Twilight Zone » effect has been seen again and again so many times. In fact, by being slightly in bad faith, the film Yesterday (2019) can almost be reduced to the Beatles songs. I am fully aware of the exaggeration, but allow me to moan and groan: I'm slightly disappointed with such a banal rom com about The Beatles, a stuff of legend across all periods of time.
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6/10
Interesting concept. Awkward execution.
leobryan-0345313 July 2019
Warning: Spoilers
It was a great idea and in some ways the film made the vision work. I just don't think they did enough with it though and instead fell back into the traditional love story formula. The music helped carry a lot of it through (unsurprisingly). What they missed was it wasn't necessarily the songs themselves but the era in which they came out and the meaning of the time. Movie just presented it as almost instant stardom if today's world heard the songs which lets be honest today's generation wouldn't understand half of it. It didn't really present a clear vision of "why" which I was looking for towards the end to help tie things up. Lights go off on the planet he takes a bump on the head then the Beatles never existed? Alternate universe? Dream? Thought there would've been something more there. There were a few things that bothered me with the story that the movie made it seem like they were pieces to the puzzle but then never did anything with them. First is through the film he also finds out other things don't exist as well such as coke, cigarettes, the band oasis, and Harry Potter. It seemed like these things were going to connect into the story and why the Beatles music isn't present but they just left it there and he kind of says "oh well" and nothing comes of it. The second was he finds out there are two others that also know the Beatles music and again seems like this should be a big part of the story to tie things together as to a bit of "why" but they just have a conversation about it she gives him an address and then that's it. His conversation with what I think is supposed to be John Lennon didn't make sense either. Does that mean the other 4 exist? Did they never meet to make music? Just all added up to a great idea that worked early in the film but didn't follow through properly. All my opinion of course
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10/10
Just the good feeling I wanted.
jeanwinchester28 June 2019
Warning: Spoilers
I liked it! I was twelve when the Beatles became famous so I grew up with them. More than once a tear threatened to roll down my cheek but I'm a simple lass so what the hell! I'm no big-arsed critic who is paid to be clever and differant. I thought the writing and the acting was spot on. As someone whose had a bit of success, I appreciated that a great deal. Very authentic I thought. But here's the thing; about that cameo... I won't say who it is but when it happened, my jaw hit the floor. Amazing! Well done. And so, so sad. Great film. I'll definitely buy the DVD. As an aside, if we are supposed to write twenty lines at least in these reviews, how come some of these reviews only contain two lines?
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10/10
Totally Enjoyable!
kaisher_alan29 June 2019
This is a movie that has so much going for it. It's funny, profound, has great music, wonderful acting and a great ending. If you like the Beatles and their terrific songs and lyrics, you should truly enjoy this movie!
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8/10
An original homage that helps break the current biopic trend
naveen6414 August 2019
After being subjected to a number of films documenting the lives of musicians - most notably "Bohemian Rhapsody", "Rocketman" and "Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story" - it is truly a pleasure to be presented with a film that sheds light on the work and life of an artist while not adhering to the strict (though desirable) biographical approach. That is exactly what makes the piece so marvellous; I came out of the cinema with a greater appreciation of The Beatles, and their music, through a fictional story that did not feature the four men we are familiar with at all. Quite often the film achieved my admiration for the band without me consciously noticing.

On another level, the film made a satire of the modern music industry. It revealed how the apparent "solo" artists are far from their titles; with huge teams of men pushing them in a preferred, and more commercial, creative direction, taking the musicians' creative power. This was done in a humorous light (as most themes are presented in the film). The romantic aspect of the film is evident from the beginning and is a dominant aspect of the story, possibly shifting the focus of the piece a little too much. However, it still helps provides a satisfying ending.

The film pays a great amount of respect in a fresh way while cleverly interweaving other conflicts.
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5/10
Disappointing
grantpaulsen20 June 2019
Danny Boyle is a director that I usually like, but unfortunately this film disappointed me. I thought it was very cliched and filled to the brim with tropes and bad, cringeworthy dialogue. I thought the acting was good, and the premise was interesting, but they don't live up to the potential of that premise. Because rather than exploring the interesting questions that this premise entails like how the world, the music industry, and our understanding of music would change if The Beatles were never a thing, they instead just use this as a strange, needlessly complex way of telling a by the books romance. Overall I wouldn't exactly recommend this film, and I was pretty disappointed.
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8/10
Beatles tribute gets lost in love story and is saved by Beatles music
spm085884 June 2019
Vi and I made it out last night to a preview of Danny Boyle's most recent which contemplates what the world might be like without The Beatles. Or rather, if nobody remembered The Beatles, except the former teacher, protagonist who also happens to be a struggling singer songwriter who is nearing the 10,000 hour mark of his up to now futile music career.

Was it 'merely' the underlying brilliance of Lennon and McCartney that propelled The Beatles to stardom in the 60's? Is it simply catchy tunes and meaningful lyrics that led to the perennial relevance of The Beatles catalog? Is this an ongoing cultural phenomenon demonstrated by the passing of love of Beatles music from parent to child, fan to the uninitiated, that continues, fervently, even today? These might be a few of the questions that ran through my head as the plot unfolded manifest in another question: could one guy with a guitar replicate The Fab Four's success?

As a bit of a Beatles fan, the subtext to the film, contrasts the roles that a select few beyond the fab four played in The Beatles success with the movie's equivalents. As a snarky jab at the music industry, Brian Epstein's meticulous eye for detail is hearkened and contrasted with Kate McKinnon, whose performance is at once spot on and over the top. Her character is undoubtedly the tip of the iceberg for those archetype 'gonna conquer the world' southern California denizens, yet rings hollow in a few spots. The distinction is poignant for a Danny Boyle movie, normally the complete opposite of tone deaf, and while I chose to include it here, the scene(s) I reference may be cut from the final release version. (For edification purposes: the music studio in L.A.)

Speaking of the studio, The Beatles, simply would not be without the mastery of studio producer George Martin. The orchestral arrangements, the sound story mentality, the embracing of The Beatles' desire to embrace the latest technologies are a few of the ways in which Martin guided the manifestation of magic conveyed on vinyl. The film, in this regard, is light on the complexity and development of the sound over time and focuses instead, even acknowledges, that Jack's is a lesser reflection of the brilliance of The Beatles, with a few laugheties about lyric selection.

Which is not to say that the interpretations of the songs chosen are not without merit. The sincere portrayal of 'Yesterday' provides a solid framing for the rest of the movie. 'In my Life' plays a vital role in driving the movie forward, and appropriately so. And the at once nuanced, yet in your face pleading of 'Help' is a true reading of the song's rarely spoken meaning appropriate to the character and plot. Patel's rendering, spoken and sung, is true.

What is a bit muddled is the inability for interpersonal communication in a world without a common language of love, alongside earworm hooks, impeccably delivered by John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Instead it takes a plot twist I didn't anticipate, to initiate the third half of the movie resolution.

Ultimately, the movie succeeds at contemplating how a struggling musician / teacher might navigate the complicated waters of being the one person in the world who remembers and can perform The Beatles...A Long and Winding Road indeed!
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5/10
Decent movie that doesn't quite live up to its great premise
seige-hound24 June 2019
Warning: Spoilers
Yesterday tells the story of Jack, an amateur musician who is trying to break into the industry with the help of his best friend Ellie, but when he gets hit by a truck riding his bike home one night, he wakes up in an alternate universe where several things have turned out to have never existed, but most importantly the Beatles and their songs. Jack decides to take advantage of this, and uses the Beatles' music to launch his career, becoming the most famous pop star in the world.

That premise sounds great, and I was looking forward to a surreal comedy, but to be honest, it doesn't quite live up to it, instead getting distracted by what the actual main plot turned out to be: a cliche romantic comedy with the childhood friend that is secretly in love with the protagonist, only for him to figure it out for himself later.

The best moments of this film are to do with the central premise of the alternate universe, where Jack would reference something, only for the people around him to say "what's that?" I mean, it's the same joke in different words basically every time, but hey, the way they execute it is pretty good. There are also some decent satirical moments with Jack interacting with the music industry, personified by Jack's manager, and an extended cameo by Ed Sheeran, who falls victim to some self-deprecating jokes, but overall seems to be the secondary 'star' of the show besides the Beatles' music.

Speaking of the Beatles, you'd be surprised by how little they actually contribute to the plot. For a film that is named after one of their more famous songs, you'd think that their music and impact to society would be more than just a plot device for the main character to achieve his success. There's no real commentary as to why the Beatles music is so great, you're just told, over and over again, that they're the greatest band ever, and that a world without them ever existing would suck. Sure, that is something I would agree with, but the film doesn't really add much of their own perspective to that side of the story, it just takes that idea as fact.

The romance is decent, but cliche and overall unremarkable. Screenwriter Richard Curtist definitely knows how to write romances, having written several well regarded romcoms, like Love Actually and About Time, but I would say that Yesterday isn't quite up to that standard. Same goes for Danny Boyle and the other films he directed compared to this. The direction isn't bad, but it's bland and doesn't really add much to the story. There are some weird shots, like some weird dutch angles near the beginning of the story that seem out of place, but nothing else unusual or amazing about the camerawork either.

I guess if you like romcoms and Beatles music, this movie will definitely be watchable, but for me, as a person who doesn't actively seek out that genre, this film didn't stand out to me in either direction, and overall I'm disappointed that they didn't take full advantage of the great premise.
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10/10
Lovely
beerman-049615 July 2019
Sat with a big smile on my face the entire time. "A world without The Beatles is a world that is infinitely worse"
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6/10
Imagine
ferguson-610 June 2019
Warning: Spoilers
2019 Oak Cliff Film Festival Greetings again from the darkness. A world without music from The Beatles? It's hard to "imagine". It's not as simple as never having their classics played on the radio, as the number of musicians influenced by their work is roughly the size of the list of every musician who has ever written or sang a song over the past 60 years. Of course, that's a bit too much to tackle in a movie, so director Danny Boyle (Oscar winner for SLUMBDOG MILLIONAIRE) simplifies things by serving up a 12 second global power outage.

Jack Malik (Himesh Patel, "EastEnders") is the epitome of a struggling musician. He plays kids' parties and pubs where the only applause is from his small group of friends who enjoy busting his chops over his "summer" song. His lifelong friend Ellie (Lily James, BABY DRIVER, MAMMA MIA!, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES) is also his manager and roadie ... his only true supporter. There is an unrequited attraction between the two, and since the script comes from Richard Curtis (LOVE ACTUALLY), we know where this is headed.

When the global power outage hits, Jack is on his bicycle and a collision with a bus puts him in the hospital. During recovery, he stumbles on to the fact that he is the only person who remembers music from John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Quickly capitalizing on the opportunity, Jack frantically tries to recall the lyrics to the songs, and in short time is replacing his playlist post-it notes with the familiar (to us) song titles, and blowing people away with "his" formidable songwriting and incredible music.

Fortune shines on Jack and his new songs, and soon Ed Sheeran (playing himself) is helping Jack's career, while at the same time being humbled by these songs. It's at this point where Kate McKinnon joins in as the money-grubbing talent agent who recognizes a gold mine when she hears it. Additional comedy is provided by Joel Fry as Rocky, Jack's new roadie; and a trip to Liverpool follows, as does a world tour and album recording session.

Danny Boyle is known best for his likeable, easy to digest films that are typically crowd-pleasers, but leave me wanting more depth and substance. This one fits right in. It's funny ("Hey Dude", Abbey Road is just a road) and has amazing music (of course). However, where Lily James plays her role perfectly, Himesh Patel - despite a fine singing voice - simply lacks the charisma and screen presence to carry the film. We rarely feel his inner turmoil in living this whopper of a lie, and the film never really clicks as a Rom-Com. In fact, the only thing we should be loving here is the Beatles music. The film plays a bit like Rod Serling decided to take "The Twilight Zone" into comedy. The real impact would be lost, but it would still likely draw a crowd.
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