YESTERDAY Review — He Gets By With a Little Help From His Friends…And a Time Warp

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Yesterday review — All Jack’s troubles seemed so far away once he woke up and found out he was the only one who had ever heard of The Beatles.

yesterday review

What would you do if I sang out a tune (by The Beatles) and no one had ever heard it before? That pretty much sums up the dilemma faced by Jack Malik (Himesh Patel from the BBC’s Eastenders). One day when he crashes his bike during a global power outage, and wakes up to find he’s the only one who remembers the John, Paul, George and Ringo.

And since he’s a struggling musician who can sing, play the guitar and piano but can’t write a decent tune of his own, he starts pawning off all The Beatles songs he can remember as his own. Wouldn’t you? As for me, I wouldn’t be half as conflicted as he seems to be. But therein lies the pathos of the movie.

It’s a small film that I wish would have been bigger. But it does have heart to spare, thanks to Danny Boyle’s tender direction from an endearing script by Richard Curtis, writer of British rom com classics like Love Actually, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Notting Hill, the Bridget Jones movies, and my favorite of the bunch, Pirate Radio.

While Patel spends most of his screen time playing a deer in the headlights, the supporting cast manages to fill in the blanks quite nicely. Especially good are Ed Sheeran as himself, Kate McKinnon as a sharky manager/agent, and the lovely Lily James as Ellie, who has always been his supportive manager/best friend, but never more.

And the device of Jack’s realizing that various other pop culture phenomena have also disappeared from collective consciousness? Genius! It never gets old, and keeps eliciting laughter right up to the sweet end.

Yesterday never takes the expected turns, and is all the better for it. It’s a subtle celebration of the men who have written some of the greatest songs ever composed. I don’t know about you, but in my life, I’ve loved them all.

Rated PG-13

1 Hour 52 Minutes

If this Yesterday review makes you want to fall out of bed, drag a comb across your head and see this film, get times and tickets at

Yesterday review — All Jack’s troubles seemed so far away once he woke up and found out he was the only one who had ever heard of The Beatles.

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and on BBC Radio.

1 Comment

  1. Avatar Staci Layne Wilson on June 27, 2019 at 3:36 pm

    I didn’t like the film much, but I *love* your review. Very cleverly written!

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