Yesterday (4K UHD)

 (27,548)6.81 h 56 min2019X-RayHDRUHDNR
After a mysterious blackout, Jack (Himesh Patel) discovers he is the only person on earth who remembers The Beatles! As he rockets to fame by passing off the Fab Four's songs as his own, Jack risks losing Ellie (Lily James) the one person who has loved him and believed in him from the start. Before the door to his old life closes forever, Jack must decide if all he needs is love, after all.
Directors
Danny Boyle
Starring
Himesh PatelLily JamesEd Sheeran
Genres
Comedy
Subtitles
English [CC]
Audio languages
English
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Supporting actors
Kate McKinnon
Producers
Danny BoyleEric FellnerMatthew James WilkinsonTim BevanBernard BellewRichard Curtis
Studio
Universal Pictures
Content advisory
Violencesexual contentdrug usefoul language
Purchase rights
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Format
Prime Video (streaming online video)
Devices
Available to watch on supported devices

Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars

27548 global ratings

  1. 71% of reviews have 5 stars
  2. 17% of reviews have 4 stars
  3. 8% of reviews have 3 stars
  4. 2% of reviews have 2 stars
  5. 2% of reviews have 1 stars

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Top reviews from the United States

E.M. BristolReviewed in the United States on June 29, 2019
4.0 out of 5 stars
Hey dude, go see this movie
Imagine a world where everyone but you had no knowledge of the Beatles. Struggling singer-songwriter Himesh Patel gets to live out this fantasy in the film which has a leisurely pace at times but some undeniably great songs.

True story: Joshua Bell, after he had already established himself as a world famous violinist, performed an experiment where he hung out as an ordinary-seeming busker. Oddly enough, everyone hurried by him, unaware of the treat, except children who apparently picked up on the fact that something extraordinary was happening. Much the same occurs in "Yesterday," when Himesh performs Beatles songs to oblivious patrons of coffeehouses, no different from when he's playing his own music. At the film's start, Himesh has one loyal fan - his longtime friend Lily James - and is ready to give up his dream of making it big and going back to teaching. However, due to a worldwide blackout, Himesh wakes up in the hospital minus a few front teeth (having gotten into a bike accident) but with his knowledge of the Beatles intact. When he discovers that no one else (not even Google) has heard of them, he seizes the chance to appropriate their work.

Though it takes awhile, eventually Himesh is approached by an enthusiastic guy offering to manage him, and then things begin taking off. Himesh outwrites Ed Sheeran (playing himself) in an impromptu songwriting contest, which is when he's noticed by Kate McKinnon (employing her usual manic energy) an American manager. Soon Himesh finds himself pursued by screaming fans wherever he goes, etc.

Unfortunately, Himesh's new fame leaves Lily feeling unappreciated, so there's conflict there. Also Himesh (shadowed by a couple of strangers) begins to have qualms of conscience. When it looks like Himesh's secret knowledge may be shared by other people on the planet, even though initially this didn't seem the case, he is forced to decide whether or not to come clean. "Yesterday," is predictable, but it's a fun and sweet (and very clean) summer movie which the audience I saw it with clearly enjoyed.
172 people found this helpful
Rich WhitcombReviewed in the United States on September 25, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Finally, A New Original Movie!
Verified purchase
I love seeing new movie's that are original and not a lousy knockoff of other movie's. I loved this move SO much that I had to give it 5 stars and nothing less! The plot was awesome, the acting was terrific, and the message they give is also superb! The ending was predictable, but I can look past that being so enjoyable and original. Himesh Patel (Jack Malik) and Lily James (Ellie Appleton) were perfect together in this movie. After watching this movie, I couldn't think of anybody better to play those roles. I'm not going to say anything else in order not to ruin this, but I very highly recommend this movie , even if you're not a Beatle's fan.
113 people found this helpful
Carl SchultzReviewed in the United States on July 1, 2019
3.0 out of 5 stars
Disappointing Variation On The Faust Legend...With A Great Song Score
“Yesterday” Distributed by Universal Pictures, 116 Minutes, Rated PG-13, Released June 28, 2019:

It’s probably not a good idea to put too much thought into “Yesterday” while you’re watching it, although you’ll probably find it impossible to not think about it afterwards.

The violations of the space-time continuum in the picture are difficult to accommodate, especially for those audience members who follow the “Star Wars” and Marvel Comics-based pictures, and are notoriously picky about such details. And although “Yesterday” is filled with amusing scenes, charming set pieces, and some of the best music ever composed and performed, the whole is decidedly not a sum of its parts. And that’s a real shame.

In “Yesterday,” Jack Malik, a struggling British musician on the worn edge of youth, is tempted by his lack of success to quit the music business and return to his primary profession of school teaching. But after he’s knocked unconscious in a traffic accident caused by a cosmic anomaly and momentary global power outage, the young musician awakens to find a substantial change in culture. Specifically, the world has no memory, or historical account, of Coca-Cola, cigarettes...or The Beatles.

Now the failing musician is faced with a dilemma...and an opportunity. With a head filled with Beatles songs in a world that’s never heard them, his path to global superstardom is open--all he needs to do is to claim the Beatles music catalog as his own. But first he needs to decide whether unprecedented fame and wealth is worth the burden of having to live with a lie...and possibly losing the affection of the only girl who ever truly loved him.

Despite an original premise and a musical score filled with a dozen or so of the best songs ever written, “Yesterday” ultimately becomes a fairly standard rags-to-riches entertainment story, a variation of the Faust legend, with British actor Himesh Patel’s Jack in the Faust role, Lily James as Marguerite, the girlfriend, here called Ellie Appleton, and Kate McKinnon as Mephistopheles in the guise of the venal and soulless talent manager Debra Hammer, who promises young Jack riches beyond comprehension in exchange for his talent.

Part of the joy of the Beatles experience was in witnessing their growth and maturation. When heard today, their early music--songs such as 1962’s “Love Me Do” and “She Loves You” in 1963--seem primitive and primordial, little more complex than prehistoric cavern-dwellers chanting and pounding on hollow logs. That the group in a few years’ time was able to gain the musicianship and sophistication to produce works like “A Day in the Life,” “Penny Lane” and “Strawberry Fields Forever” is nearly astonishing.

There’s no sense of that wonder in “Yesterday,” and even less of the joy. Jack, the movie’s central character, possesses the knowledge of the Beatles catalog, but not the discipline the band’s members required to produce it. Despite his presumptive skill and experience as a musician, during Jack’s first solo appearance with his own band to perform one of “his” new compositions before an audience, the opening song (the 1965 hit “Help”) is almost laughably inept, hardly even worthy of a suburban teenage garage band.

Additionally, despite the movie’s premise there’s never any real sense of the band’s eventually modifying world culture. The impact of The Beatles extended beyond popular music, and eventually affected world culture. To begin with, without The Beatles there likely would’ve been no Rolling Stones, Woodstock, Michael Jackson, or long hair on men--all details mentioned in the film as having occurred anyway.

Worse, in a movie which turns on the audience’s liking the central character, Himesh Patel’s Jack Malik becomes almost painfully unsympathetic, and even unlikable. To be successful as a persuasive dramatic narrative, the movie has to show us plainly why the lovable Lily James as Ellie follows her musician crush, and encourages him to persist in his pursuit of success in music. Instead, the audience falls in love with Lily James as Ellie, and vaguely wishes she’d come to her senses and dump Jack, maybe find a guy who’s a little more attentive and caring.

Of Jack’s musical work without the spirit of The Beatles on his shoulder, Kate McKinnon as the Mephistophelean manager Debra delivers the picture’s best line: “I hate it...but I’m not interested enough to listen to it again to find out why.” It’s a great line, but she might also be describing the picture’s plot development, or even the movie’s central character.

In the end, Jack’s decision, and the path of his soul, is made easy by a piece of advice he receives from a familiar countenance indeed. Led by an address slipped to him by a fan, Jack arrives at the door of an aging, reclusive artist living in a remote seaside cottage on the periphery of society. The old artist shares with the conflicted young man the culmination of his long years of experience: “Tell the girl you love you love her,” the old man advises Jack, “and tell the truth whenever you can.” Come to think of it, that’s what those four guys were telling us all along.

Directed by the talented and eclectic Danny Boyle, the filmmaker behind 1996’s “Trainspotting” and 2008’s “Slumdog Millionaire,” from a screenplay by the equally-talented Richard Curtis, the writer behind 1999’s “Notting Hill” and 2003’s “Love Actually,” “Yesterday” is entertaining enough, but richly unsatisfying. The picture ultimately presents viewers with more questions than answers. For fans of the Beatles--and honestly, if there weren’t millions of us, there’d be no movie--”Yesterday” might inspire a sense of disquiet, and possibly a feeling of blasphemy.

One character is exactly correct when she observes toward the end of the picture, “A world without The Beatles is a world that’s infinitely worse.” But at the same time, the picture’s premise and structure begs a question: If a single musician were really able to compose the whole of The Beatles’ catalog of songs before even releasing his first record album, what in the world would he do for an encore?

“Yesterday” is rated PG-13 for suggestive content and language concerns.
126 people found this helpful
Person of InterestReviewed in the United States on July 3, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Astounding!
I saw the movie yesterday (no pun intended) and preordered the 4K version today. Himesh Patel's voice is so clean and clear and provides a fresh rendition of the Beatles best songs. Loved the music and the story but hope they produce an extended release with full versions of most of the songs. There are some songs I wish they had included but for the most part, the song list was representative of the whole of the Beatles' music career. The one part in the movie that brought me to tears was the visit to the cottage by the sea which dearly left me wondering, "what if".
112 people found this helpful
RON B.Reviewed in the United States on June 30, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Must see for any Beatles fan
Wow, the movie of the year. Great acting with a perfect story that used great Beatles songs perfectly throughout.
100 people found this helpful
ElleReviewed in the United States on September 29, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
Talent portrayed by more talent in this fun, twisting story!
Verified purchase
This is a movie that truly had me guessing and that does not happen very often. The plot itself was fun, the actors well chosen, and the talent of Himesh Patel is obvious and real as he performs Beatles songs (and other) quite beautifully. There were just enough clues placed throughout that had people wondering if he were dreaming it all from the hospital, or in the process of dying, or mentally unstable (such as when "John Lennon" whispers how he needs psychiatric help.) I also loved the scenes where the marketing company didn't want to call the albums by the Beatles actual names due to today's pre-packaged and thin-skinned standards. ~'The White Album is diversity insensitive. Look at all that white!'

Overall this is a fun story filled with twists and turns and provides a beautiful tribute to Beatles music. I wonder how many people seeing this film never heard their songs before. Maybe that was the original point of the writers...not wanting to see a world where Beatles music is forgotten? (Or a new 'Beatles' can begin.) Who knows. In any event, I recommend it as 'quite worth your time.'
24 people found this helpful
TonyReviewed in the United States on September 19, 2019
2.0 out of 5 stars
VH1 quality rock drama chock full o' hackneyed hollywood rehash
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VH1 quality rock drama chock full o' hackneyed hollywood rehash. Don't waster your time watching the whole movie, just view the trailer and fill in the blanks for yourself, that will probably be more interesting.
It could have been interesting... the premise has promise, but the film completely ignores just about everything about modern culture and instead pretends people would hear the music of the Beatles almost exactly how they did decades ago. That is not possible and not interesting, but it was the easier story to tell I suppose and it will definitely satisfy all the baby boomers that buy this DVD. The only redeeming thing about the movie is the acting of Himesh Patel and Kate McKinnon.
22 people found this helpful
Martin AsinerReviewed in the United States on November 17, 2019
5.0 out of 5 stars
In All Universes A Thing of Beauty is a Joy Forever
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In Yesterday, The audience sees various realities bundled in a way that recalls similar alternate universes as in It's A Wonderful Life. But in this movie, the audience is teased that reality is not so real after all. Himesh Patel is a singer songwriter who has spent years trying to hit it big. He is a talented singer but he is close to quitting until the Impossible happens. He is shifted from one universe to another in a manner that is not much different from the means Mark Twain used to relocate temporally his Connecticut Yankee to the court of King Arthur. With Patel. called Jack Malik, a bit of scientific plausibility is inserted. A world wide failure of electricity lingers for twelve seconds, causing a truck to hit Jack and when he wakes up, he is no longer in his base reality; he is is a universe where the Beatles have never existed. It is just as well that the script does not logically follow through on such an event. Twelve seconds is more than enough time for planes to fall out of the sky and car accidents in the millions. Further, the script wisely ignores what happened to the Jack Malik who must have been transported from the non-Beatle reality to one where the Beatles were famous. Finally, the script glosses over a few other individuals who similarly made the temporal transition and well know the Beatles. Yesterday is meant as a romantic fantasy, not as a musical version of the television series Sliders. Himesh Patel is totally convincing as one who has come to a moral cross roads. Should he pass off the songs of the Beatles as his own or should he have to account for them as the true result of inter-dimensional shifting? Some critics label Jack Malik as an unlikable plagiarist who takes advantage of a unique opportunity for wealth and fame. However, he remains likable throughout. The audience is treated to Patel's ability to take the tonal inflections of Sir Paul McCartney and infuse them with his own unique style. The unifying theme of the movie does not emerge until near the end when Jack Malik meets one of the other dimensional travelers who tells him that Jack should not worry about the infringing of copyright laws of an alternate reality. Rather, in a world bereft of the Beatles, that world would be much the poorer. Thus, beauty has a right to exist and it is the Jack Maliks of all universes to provide that beauty. Yesterday deserves an Oscar nomination for Best Picture.

EDIT Added 11/19/2019
Since I submitted my original review, I have since read various other reviews. Most of them have negatively harped on what the reviewers saw as violations of logic and their contextual knowledge of the Beatles gained from decades of listening to their music. Typical of their objections include the following:
1) Ellie would never have fallen in love with Jack in the first place
2) Jack released his versions of dozens of Beatle songs in a haphazard manner that did not do justice to the thematic development of the Beatles from 1963 to 1970
3) The singing/song writing talent of Jack Malik, while reasonably competent, was far less than the original Beatles and would likely not have sold in Jack's non-Beatle reality
4) The "silly love songs" of the early Beatles sold well but only in the temporal context in which the Beatles released them. Thus, these songs would not have resonated in Jack's new reality

What such criticisms suggest is that Director Danny Boyle was unaware of their existence. I suggest that he was aware and chose to ignore them. It is crucial to remember Boyle was interested in a fantasy and not a gritty realistic drama framed by music. Further, current critics frame their comments inj a context garnered over decades. The audiences of the non-Beatle reality did not have this context. Jack Malik simply unleashed his torrent of Beatle songs such that the entire universe of potential fans reacted as much did the fans of the reality from which Jack emerged. this reaction was unfettered joy. Consider a few key scenes when Jack's music was heard the first time. Jack played "Yesterday" for Ellie and a few friends. They were stunned. Jack went of national tv and in a deleted scene (why it was deleted I'll never know) supposedly played a brand new "Something" to a lovely Anna de Armas. Then there was the impromptu "battle of the songs" scene in which Ed Sheerin played a reasonably competent song about penguins while Jack blew him out of the water with "The Long Winding Road." In all three cases the stunned reactions of all concerned very likely equaled the joy felt by original listeners decades ago. So when the two other dimensional travelers told Jack that beauty needs no rationale for its existence, this leads us to the long and winding road of love for beauty that cares only for welcoming ears to appreciate.

Yesterday as a movie is held together by the stringing together of three related scenes, each of which suggests a showing off or a competition of a Beatle song with someone who does not know of it. The first is when Jack plays "Yesterday" to Ellie and her friends who are stunned by the haunting beauty of the lyrics. Though they joke about the power of the song no one doubts its impact. The second is the Battle of the Songs between Jack and Ed Sheeran. It is here the director sets out a number of cross purpose subtexts. This competition is supposed to be a friendly wager between two evenly matched song writers. The problem is is that both Jack and Ed bring in considerable emotional baggage. Ed is clearly jealous of the rising talent posed by Jack. Ed thinks he can win in an impromptu match of ten minutes of songwriting. He in fact turns out a well composed lyric of two penguins who cannot decide between settling a choice of hope or love. Oddly enough this penguin song forms a thematic subtext between the hope of Jack to become the next global superstar and the love of Ed for music even if his goal is the more modest one of besting an opponent. Ed has no idea of the humbling he will experience right in front of his closest friends. Jack's baggage is far weightier than Ed's. Jack is a fraud and the movie audience has knowledge lacking the competition audience. The movie audience is more willing to overlook such temporal music plagiary because Jack is a decent sort who cannot resist the once in a lifetime opportunity to go from a struggling nobody to a lionized somebody. The scruffy bearded dude and the middle aged woman function as incipient twin consciences struggling to emerge to confront Jack, a meeting which does occur later on. When Jack sings "The Long Winding Road" his version is a heart-stopping rendition that is as good as anything Sir Paul ever wrote or sang. Here, Jack has only a piano which results in a simplicity of beauty that the original lacked. But a nagging question emerges. Why would Jack choose one of the very best of the Beatles? This was clearly a case of overkill. He could just as easily have sung nearly any other Beatle song. Jack suffers a bit of a guilty conscience when he lamely adds that this effort was a bit complex. Ed gracefully admits Jack was the superior talent. Jack's persona as the good guy suffers a bit in this scene even as the audience admires Ed for his self-effacing admission. The third related scene is the deleted scene in which Jack has to make up a song on the spot just as he did earlier with Ed Sheeran. The dynamics of both scenes are very nearly identical. The audience in the television studio was similar to the audience of Ed's friends earlier. Jack's rendition of "Something" was like that of "The Long Winding Road." Both were reduced versions sung with only one musical accompaniment, such that simplicity of delivery heightened the effect. These three scenes enabled the audience watching the movie to flit in and out of the audience actually hearing Jack sing live so that the incremental result was one of astonishment to hear Beatle music involve a new generation of fans.
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