Blu-ray Review: Yesterday

STUDIO: Fox | DIRECTOR: Danny Boyle | CAST: Himesh Patel, Lily James, Sophia de Martino, Kate McKinnon
RELEASE DATE: Sept. 24, 2019 | PRICE: DVD $17.96, Blu-ray/DVD Combo $22.96, 4K Ultra HD $27.96
BONUSES: commentary, deleted scenes, alternate opening and ending, gag reel, more
SPECS: PG-13 | 114 min. | Fantasy comedy musical | 2.39:1 widescreen | English Dolby Atmos and Dolby Digital 2.0 | English, Spanish and French subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie  1/2 | Audio | Video | Overall  1/2

A likable musical fantasy from writer Richard Curtis (Love, Actually) and director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire, Trance), Yesterday is a must-see for fans of the Fab Four from Liverpool who revolutionized the musical world.

The question the film poses is: What if the world never knew The Beatles existed?  The premise is that a mysterious atmospheric event brings about a bus striking bike-riding musician Jack Malik (Himesh Patel, TV’s EastEnders), sending him to the hospital unconscious. When he awakes, the musician discovers that the world does not remember The Beatles.  With help from his loyal “manager” Ellie (Lily James, Darkest Hour), Jack exploits the situation by performing Beatles classics and winning legions of fans. He opens for Ed Sheeran (played by the real Ed Sheeran in a self-effacing turn) and soon has his career steered by an industry manager (Kate McKinnon, Ghostbusters), leaving Ellie in the dust. Eventually—and not surprisingly– Jack has to make a decision: Does he go for the adulation and money he’s acquired on a falsehood or stay true to his roots?

In order for the film to succeed, you have to go with the supernatural fantasy, cheer for Jack to make it and overlook glaring questions about the storyline and soak in the great music. It helps that Curtis’s script is snappy, underlining the absurdity of the situation. And Boyle keeps the movie moving at a rapid pace and is an expert at staging both the small and elaborate musical sequences and capturing the quiet chemistry between Jack and Ellie.  Meanwhile, a bizarre, much-discussed fantasy sequence is a push: eerie and thought-provoking but questionable for its overall weirdness and taste.

Yesterday received mixed reviews but did well at the box-office taking in nearly $120 million at the box-office. In the home market, expect the title to see more “hellos” than “goodbyes.”

Buy or Rent Yesterday

About Irv

Irv Slifkin has been reviewing movies since before he got kicked off of his high school radio station for panning The Towering Inferno in 1974. He has written the books VideoHound’s Groovy Movies: Far-Out Films of the Psychedelic Era and Filmadelphia: A Celebration of a City’s Movies, and has contributed film reportage and reviews to such outlets as Entertainment Weekly, The Hollywood Reporter, Video Business magazine and National Public Radio.