Length: 116 minutes / 1.93 hours
When I saw the first trailers for Yesterday (2019), I had some high hopes for this movie. The premise of only one person remembering The Beatles in a world where this famous band didn’t exist was intriguing enough by itself to warrant a watch. Plus, with Danny Boyle directing, I had perhaps anticipated more than what I actually got. It’s hard to hate a movie with such a great soundtrack full of Beatles songs, but the execution of the entire idea left me wanting a bit more and breaking my suspension of disbelief on more than one occasion.
Back in high school, I had a history assignment to perform a thought experiment similar to Yesterday: what happens if The Beatles didn’t exist? Instead of just being a weird gap in the cultural zeitgeist, I think this movie would have done better to see the amount of influence the band had throughout the music industry. Sure, some moments highlight how The Beatles wouldn’t be able to do what they did back then in today’s music recording environment, but I don’t think this went far enough to show how revolutionary they were.
On top of everything else, other loose ends seemed to be added in with no real explanation or reason. I would have been fine with just one person remembering the Beatles, but the movie thought otherwise. Similarly, why are several other famous brands and pop culture items missing from this world? These seemed to distract from the main thrust of the film, which should have been exclusively about The Beatles. I also didn’t appreciate the hackneyed romantic subplot that was so far from realistic as to be an insult to all relationships everywhere. In the end, I was disappointed with the result of a great idea that was never fully explored.
A disappointment with a killer Beatles soundtrack, I give Yesterday 2.5 stars out of 5.