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Yesterday Movie Review - Great Songs, Fun Story Idea

Although a corny love story at heart, the film is very satisfying.

Reviewed by on Jun 28, 2019
Rating: 4 Star Rating

Kidzworld saw Yesterday. It’s great to explore an alternate universe in which The Beatles never existed. If you remembered all their songs, could you pretend to have written them? Read our movie review.

By: Lynn Barker

In Yesterday, struggling British singer/songwriter Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) is good enough but not great. His chances at making it are fading fast despite the support of best childhood friend/Manager Ellie (Lily James). When all the lights on our planet go out for 12 seconds, Jack, on his bike, is hit by a bus and after recovering, slowly realizes that in this altered, parallel universe, The Beatles, Coca Cola, cigarettes and Harry Potter never existed! Since Jack remembers all the Fab Four’s songs, can he finally find the fame he seeks and will Ellie come along for the ride?

Yesterday Trailer



While working a day job in a warehouse store, Jack also performs for money on the streets and, with the help of his lifelong friend Ellie who “manages” him, he plays in small venues to little success.  His songs are pleasant but hardly great. Although his friends support him, Jack is about to give up and work full time at the warehouse when the entire world goes completely dark for twelve minutes. On his bike in the dark, Jack is hit by a bus.

Ellie tells Jack not to give upEllie tells Jack not to give upCourtesy of Universal Studios

Strange Awakening

Waking in the hospital with Ellie by his side, Jack is okay but has lost some front teeth. While chatting with Ellie and friends, he slowly realizes that none of them has ever even heard of The Beatles. When Ellie gifts him with a new guitar (his was wrecked by the bus), he sings and plays “Yesterday”. Ellie and friends are very impressed. What a great song! Are they kidding? After looking up The Beatles and everything related to them on Google and finding zero, Jack realizes the truth. In this parallel life, the most famous band in the world never existed! There is also no Coke nor Harry Potter.

Ellie gifts Jack with a new guitaEllie gifts Jack with a new guitarCourtesy of Universal Studios

Faking It

Realizing what this can mean for him, Jack goes into a frenzy remembering all the Beatles lyrics and tunes he possibly can, practices and finally plays “Let It Be” on the piano for his parents who barely listen but seem interested. He plays more songs in public. People seem interested but not too impressed. Jack complains to Ellie that it can’t be the songs so it is him everyone doesn’t like. It’s Ellie’s idea for Jack to record a CD. At mutual friend Gavin’s (Alexander Arnold) recording studio next to railroad tracks, between trains they rock out on some of the most famous Beatles tunes. Jack passes out the free CDs and appears on a corny local TV show where he sings another great Beatles song. 

Ellie watches Jack on local TVEllie watches Jack on local TVCourtesy of Universal Studios


When famous popstar/songwriter Ed Sheeran (himself) hears the song, he is super impressed and phones Jack who doesn’t believe it is him. Sheeran shows up at Jack’s house and asks him to be the opening act for his new tour! Yes! Jack expects Ellie to come as his manager but she is a math teacher and can’t leave her job. He’s a big success on the tour, switches from acoustic to electric guitar and Ed becomes more and more impressed with him. We see that one man in the audience seems to also remember The Beatles..or does he? Will this be trouble for Jack? Ed’s own manager Debra Hammer (Kate McKinnon) is sure she can make Jack a huge recording and performing star!

Ed Sheeran takes Jack on tour with himEd Sheeran takes Jack on tour with himCourtesy of Universal Studios

Come to L.A.

In order to be signed to a label, Jack must come to L.A. and meet with Debra’s people. After she throws him a goodbye party, Ellie asks why Jack has always put her in the friend zone. She obviously loves him. He doesn’t know what to say. They are interrupted and he leaves for L.A. Debra asks him if he can handle the money and fame. Does he want it? He can’t say no. The plan is for a make-over and a double album debut. As fame grows, Jack needs more songs. He goes to Liverpool where The Beatles started for inspiration to jog his song memory.

Debra offers Jack money and fameDebra offers Jack money and fameCourtesy of Universal Studios

In Liverpool

As he visits Penny Lane, Strawberry Fields and Eleanor Rigby’s grave, Jack is followed by a strange woman.. Does she also remember? Ellie arrives and they have a great time, almost sleep together….finally but she pulls away.

Another Beatles song charms EllieAnother Beatles song charms EllieCourtesy of Universal Studios

She doesn’t want a one night stand and he’s headed back to L.A. the next morning. She also feels, as a mere teacher she soon won’t be enough for him. He seems to realize he does love her but can’t give up what he has wanted all his life.

Ellie surprises Jack in LiverpooEllie surprises Jack in LiverpoolCourtesy of Universal Studios


After Debra and the team and even Ed Sheeran start to tinker with the songs, Jack wonders what he is doing. Ellie starts dating Gavin and the guy from the concert and woman who followed him in Liverpool track Jack down and admit they do remember the Beatles! They know he is lying. Jack is due to release his first big album and has nightmares about Paul and Ringo discovering what he’s done. Will he be able to continue his big lie or tell the world the truth about his music? Will Ellie ever be his?

Will Jack admit the truth on stage?Will Jack admit the truth on stage?Courtesy of Universal Studios

Wrapping Up

Yesterday is a charming romance using a world without the Fab Four as a gimmick.  Yes you do get to hear a lot of snippets of great Beatles songs but more could have been done with this really inventive, Sci-Fi idea. The movie could have explored how today’s music might have been very different if those songwriter/musicians influenced by The Beatles when they were younger, didn’t have that musical inspiration. But maybe that would have been too “deep” for a fun romance. 

Jack performs Here Comes the SunJack performs Here Comes the SunCourtesy of Universal Studios

You do root for Ellie and Jack to finally get together and for him to decide that he really can’t continue to claim the glory for music he didn’t write. All of the actors do a nice job with their roles. Saturday Night Live/Ghostbusters star Kate McKinnon is really a hoot as a greedy, Hollywood promoter who thinks of Jack as her ticket to career and mega-money superstardom.

Ed Sheeran wants to change a few song lyricsEd Sheeran wants to change a few song lyricsCourtesy of Universal Studios

If you want to hear some really wonderful music and see sympathetic characters find love inside a film with an original storyline, you’ll enjoy Yesterday even if it doesn’t completely explore its cool “what if” story idea. We had fun so award four stars.

Yesterday Movie Rating: 4

Yesterday Movie PosterCourtesy of Universal Studios

See Yesterday in theaters now!

Express Yourself!

Could you lie and pretend to have written someone else’s classic rock tunes or would you keep trying with your own music? Did your parents or grandparents play Beatles songs as you’ve been growing up?  Talk up all things musical with a comment below or note on your Kidzworld profile page!