What would the world look like had The Beatles never existed? Director Danny Boyle’s Yesterday examines this premise through protagonist Jack Malik, a singer-songwriter with a flailing career. When a global blackout wipes The Beatles from the collective memory of the world, Malik appropriates the band’s songs as his own, which catapults him to stardom.
Written by Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Notting Hill), Yesterday stars Himesh Patel, from popular British soap opera Eastenders, and features cameos by celebrities such as Ed Sheeran and The Late Late Show host James Corden. Here’s what critics have to say about the comedy.
"“This high-concept romantic comedy is billed as a collaboration between two of the most distinctive voices in British cinema. But, in fact, it is Richard Curtis who hogs the mic here, with director Danny Boyle rather drowned out by Curtis’s instantly recognisable writing style. In fairness, it’s a style that has proven highly successful over the years: the joshing, bantering dialogue; the mannered inarticulacy with members of the opposite sex; the mortifying public declaration at the crest of the third act. But it feels a bit like an overfamiliar playlist of greatest hits.”" - Wendy Ide, The Guardian "“In ‘Yesterday’, the greatness of the Beatles is like a trump card that Jack, and the filmmakers, keep playing. Yet the greatness of the Beatles is never something the film invites us to discover. The songs, to be fair, are iconic — but that said, some Beatles songs are more iconic than others. And ‘Yesterday’ features nothing but the Beatles tracks that you would put on a “12 All-Time Greatest Songs of the Beatles!” collection. It’s not even so much that the song selection is famous-to-a-fault but that the movie treats the songs as official facts of beauty, rather than as melodies that could strike us with the freshness they’re supposed to be hitting this suddenly un-Beatle-ized world with.”" - Owen Gleiberman, Variety "“Eventually — perhaps inevitably — ‘Yesterday’ overplays its hand, with Curtis seemingly at a loss for how to resolve a story that, after its initial premise has been mined for maximum humour and poignancy, has very few places to go. (Curtis’s solution is a maudlin, creepily literalistic scene suggesting that there are some cataclysmic losses it will always be too soon to revisit.) Although director Danny Boyle does his best to inject visual interest by way of canted camera angles and snazzy on-screen graphics, even the brightest visual design can’t overcome cliched chases through train stations and an improbably romantic moment beamed from the stage of a packed Wembley Stadium.”" - Ann Hornaday, The Washington Post "“But what is it, exactly? For a while, “Yesterday” feels like a familiarly Richard Curtis-y type of winsome, self-deprecating Brit-com. People say clever things that might sound cruel in a different accent, while looking at the tops of their shoes or diffidently tossing their heads. At moments of strong feeling, they laugh-cry or hold back tears until the theater fills with audible sighs and sniffles. Patel is charming. James is charm itself. Joel Fry plays the kind of goofy friend who used to be played by Rhys Ifans.”" - AO Scott, The New York Times . Read more on Cinema by The Quint.RSS & BJP’s Nehru-Netaji ‘Cosplay’: Irony Dies a Thousand DeathsKarnataka Drama: Police Being Misused, Says Deora After Detention . Read more on Cinema by The Quint.