Yesterday (2019)
June 28, 2019 8:54 AM - Subscribe

A struggling musician realizes he's the only person on Earth who can remember The Beatles after waking up in an alternate timeline where they never existed.
posted by DirtyOldTown (29 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Well, that one scene wrecked me.
posted by sageleaf at 6:51 PM on June 28, 2019 [5 favorites]

I've been looking forward to seeing this and it was still a lot better than I expected. Random items in no order of importance, and skipping over numerous other highlights:

1) Poor Ed, losing the contest. We really enjoyed him in this.

2) I'm so glad they didn't try to resolve what happened or bring the Beatles back. It was nice to just accept that a Thing happened and explore it a bit.

3) John!

The ending was maybe a touch easy werein everyone ("I just want Ellie to be happy") is ok, but it works. I think we'll be seeing it again.
posted by Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drug at 7:13 PM on June 28, 2019


It was great! I remarked that it could be a companion piece to “Spider Man: Into the Spiderverse”.

Do we have a definitive list of changes between before and after the blackout? I got:
- The Beatles (of course)
- Oasis (yeah that makes sense)
- Coke
- Cigarettes (woah)
- Potter

Any others missed? I ended up with “mechanics of the universe” questions. Could the others also remember Coke and everything else? When he sang Oasis at the middle school thing, did that still happen and did she think it was an original song?
posted by montag2k at 9:50 PM on June 28, 2019 [4 favorites]

Just home. Best partvwas singing Hey Dude with the credits. ;)
posted by chapps at 10:40 PM on June 28, 2019

The Good:

- Loved how Jack rushed to remember as many Beatles songs as possible after the blackout – and that it wasn't easy!
- Nice exploration of just how extraordinary and unbelievable it would for a single person to write all those songs
- Neat twist when the other people who remembered weren't out to get Jack
- POC main character

The Bad:

- The relationship and communication between Jack and Ellie was not at all believable to me. Was I the only person who wanted Jack to say, "Come to LA with me!"? I get that she wants to stay a teacher, but I think they could have had a productive argument there, especially since she'd been working so hard as his manager for a decade. At least I would have believed in the conflict more.
- The musical bits could have been better. When you're doing a movie with this music, I want it all: not just the small gigs, but the epic stadium songs. Sure, perhaps a Bohemian Rhapsody-style ending might have been too much, but it felt like they were trying to do the big scenes with as little spending as they could.
- Some of the lines were just distractingly Richard Curtis: "Just say yes to a girl sitting in Liverpool Lime Street at 11:14am?" Sigh...
posted by adrianhon at 1:56 AM on June 29, 2019 [3 favorites]

We just came back from this and really liked it. I didn't love the ending, but I don't think I've loved the ending for any Richard Curtis film, so I'm good. I didn't really believe the turn of the love story, but I loved the characters enough to be okay with it.

I especially loved the little things - JL's boat was called Imagine, Paul's bare feet in the nightmare, the throwaway reference to Thursday Night Live .
posted by Mchelly at 11:58 AM on June 30, 2019 [3 favorites]

Another case of "notable scene from the trailer that isn't actually in the film": the James Corden scene where, when promoted to write something on demand, he writes... "Something." Probably better though as the misunderstanding-that-makes-love-interest-think-they've-been-cast-aside trope is some weak sauce.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:55 PM on June 30, 2019 [2 favorites]

This is very cute, but it's also very Richard Curtis. So if that kind of romcom rankles you, this just won't work.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:59 PM on June 30, 2019 [1 favorite]

Another case of "notable scene from the trailer that isn't actually in the film": the James Corden scene where, when promoted to write something on demand, he writes... "Something." Probably better though as the misunderstanding-that-makes-love-interest-think-they've-been-cast-aside trope is some weak sauce.

Apparently they cut an entire love triangle which explains why Jack never has any good reason as to why he couldn't be with Ellie.

I saw this with my five-year-old and we were both pleased during, but the plot doesn't really stand up at all to scrutiny. They set up so many weird end game things (playing Wonderwall?? did they not have the rights??) that never played out. I enjoyed the John Lennon scene as a plausible bit of fanfic.

Ed was pretty good. The kitchen scene might have been my favorite part, and it felt like a little bit of a Beatles trivia thing, because I think certain Beatles similarly rang up Harry Nilsson out of nowhere.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:05 PM on July 1, 2019 [1 favorite]

Okay, so....

SPOILER, obviously...

The global power outage was like a huge RESET button that either jumped to an alternative timeline or jumped back to the mid-to-late ‘50s and then restarted from there (a’la the Superman maneuver... and it didn’t “take” with Jack because he was unconscious during it?

Makes me wonder what happened to the two other Beatles fans he meets up with.

Also, Jack had the patience of a saint when he was trying to play his parents Let It Be and kept getting interrupted.

And wow, I never would’ve guessed Kate McKinnon could play such an unlikable person, but she did a great job (which sounds like criticism, but is not).
posted by blueberry at 9:44 PM on July 1, 2019 [2 favorites]

Kate McKinnon is an international treasure who makes me laugh just by being present in a scene. Her being in this movie was a great surprise. There were a few people who were in front of us and also clearly in that club - we all just giggled every time she said something.

I also forgot about Thursday Night Live - another one to add to the list.
posted by montag2k at 10:13 PM on July 1, 2019 [5 favorites]

Spoiler tags are unnecessary in FanFare. FF exists for discussing things you have seen.

While some people do pop in to FF threads to see what the buzz is on something they have not yet seen, they do so knowing full well that they may see spoilers.

You need never worry about that again.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 5:45 AM on July 2, 2019 [5 favorites]

The John Lennon scene was the biggest missed opportunity for my inner sci-fi fan, because that's exactly when I (albeit with my limited knowledge of his life) would try to ascertain just when/how the split occurred between realities. I'd ask if he'd ever taken up music, or if the name Paul McCartney meant anything to him, where he was during the power outage, etc. (Also, a minor mystery is why those two people who also remembered the Beatles found John's address but apparently didn't meet him? Or at least he didn't mention them.)

The resolution of Jack's career with "I'll just upload all the songs" fits with the reductiveness of the premise to "music is entirely songwriting." Like, the songwriting alone is enough to launch Jack to superstardom, and all the money that would have been paid by fans (and, realisticially, must have been pre-paid, since it's an album with huge buzz) for the music is only deserved by people who lived in an alternate universe, not by the tech people who mix sound, nor the various instrumentalists, nor the goofy roadie.

The final "who's Harry Potter?" gag was amusing. A next-level alternative (so to speak) approach: He walks by a bookstore and sees "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, by Rachel K Juniper", then starts to explain it to Ellie before stopping himself with "I've had enough of this."

A level beyond that, to establish the Copernican Principle but for parallel worlds: He says "Now I feel like Peter Hopkins, the boy wizard" and Ellie says "Um, you mean Harry Potter?" and he's like... "Who's Harry Potter?" Fade to black.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 8:55 AM on July 3, 2019 [5 favorites]

I just realized that those two other people who remember the Beatles would be a great asset for helping remember lyrics/songs that you might’ve forgotten about.
posted by blueberry at 1:31 PM on July 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

It would have been funny to have a scene where the three of them argue over a single line, just like we all did in the pre-Google days. And all three get it wrong.
posted by InTheYear2017 at 10:23 AM on July 5, 2019 [6 favorites]

I thought it was ok but the further away from the movie I get the more angry I am about it.

Why is it entirely beholden on the man to make a move in the relationship? If she cared so much about him making it big why wouldn't she continue to be his manager? She is fucking adorable and I love her, and he was pretty adorable too, and I wanted them together but I just did not buy their relationship at all. On top of that it is a serious bullshit ex-boyfriend move to show up and spring 'I loved you all along' on her. The movie did not earn it's happy ending.

I like Beatles music, but, like, you can't give me the lyrics to a Beatles song and proclaim it to be absolutely perfect songwriting. The weird awe and just, joy that everyone experiences hearing the music for the first time is crazy. Would Russia burst into applause at someone playing Back in the USSR?

The only evidence that we have that Beatles music affected culture is that Oasis doesn't exist. So, a joke. Shouldn't people be, I dunno, sadder? If Coke doesn't exist are people less fat? Without Harry Potter what are the rallying cries of the #resistance?

I feel like there's a movie to be made about the effect of removing cultural touchstones, but this wasn't it.

I was impressed with his memory of lyrics though.
posted by graventy at 2:18 PM on July 9, 2019

The John Lennon scene was the biggest missed opportunity for my inner sci-fi fan, because that's exactly when I (albeit with my limited knowledge of his life) would try to ascertain just when/how the split occurred between realities.

Likewise, on all counts. There is an added layer to it for me: a friend of a friend made an indie film a decade ago called Let Him Be; it concerns a guy who buys up old electronics at yard sales and the like, fixes them up, and sells them on eBay (or maybe some fictional equivalent). Working on an beat-up old video camera, he finds a tape stuck in it with a brief bit of footage of what seems to be a seventy-ish John Lennon playing guitar at a party.

He sets out to track down the guy who appears on the tape and eventually meets him. I will say no more save to mention that the movie is the solution to a problem (well, two problems) for tribute acts that I had never pondered before: one, what to do when you have aged well past the point the artist you are portraying actually died; and two, the entirely understandable impulse to play some original songs for a change.

Let Him Be is a decent movie; neither an undiscovered gem nor a clumsy embarrassment. I will say, though, that my having seen it means that Yesterday contains the second-best portrayal I have seen of Senior Citizen John Lennon.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 7:53 PM on July 14, 2019

Let Him Be is a decent movie; neither an undiscovered gem nor a clumsy embarrassment. I will say, though, that my having seen it means that Yesterday contains the second-best portrayal I have seen of Senior Citizen John Lennon.

You've seen Snodgrass, right? I know I mentioned it in the last Beatles thread but Ian Hart ACTS more like Lennon than any other actor, even though he doesn't look like him. I thought the Lennon performance in Let Him Be was outstanding, too (though the rest of it was meh). The guy in Yesterday had the look but nothing else IMO.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:38 AM on July 16, 2019

I have indeed seen Snodgrass, but I could not remember the title of it when I was posting earlier.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:29 PM on July 21, 2019

I just saw this tonight, and I found it really charming. Like some other people, I had issues with how the relationship progressed and think it wasn't a great movie, but it was a pretty nice way to kill a couple of hours on a sweltering Saturday night.

I really liked Ed Sheeran in this. He was kinda adorable. I also liked Kate McKinnon, but I felt like maybe she was in a different movie than everyone else a lot of the time, one where everyone was bigger and louder and more broadly drawn. Rocco felt like he was in that movie some of the time, too, so maybe they just weren't sure what movie they were making exactly.

Could have done with fewer close-ups of bloody gums, tho.
posted by jacquilynne at 8:11 PM on July 27, 2019

After establishing that Jack played Wonderwall at a talent show, and Ellie had been present for it, I think it was a missed opportunity not to dive down that rabbit hole and have Jack ask Ellie if she remembers the talent show and who wrote that song. If Oasis never existed, how did Jack first get noticed?
posted by emelenjr at 6:20 AM on October 13, 2019 [3 favorites]

Yes, that was definitely one of the places where the seams were showing from the editing process.
posted by bq at 2:21 PM on October 14, 2019

Both plots wrapping up in one scene was the issue: imagine if they'd already talked about the real bamd and that was him keeping the promise and admitting to being a Bootleg Beatle. I want to know how the other two that remembered found each other. I want to know how that guy got past facecontrol at a Moscow gig. Still an awesome film despite the flaws!
posted by Wrinkled Stumpskin at 4:25 PM on October 25, 2019

Argh, one of my biggest pet peeves is when trailers have scenes/lines/shots in them that weren't in the movie.

Otherwise this was okay. Feel like after getting the blessing of the Beatles fans he should've kept at it. Also had issues with the relationship. Glad they didn't go with the coma/dream angle.
posted by ODiV at 10:26 PM on November 8, 2019

As it progressed I was less and less interested in the relationship between the two leads and more curious as to how it was all going to resolve. Sarah Lancashire looks enough like Cynthia Lennon and I thought that might be a clue, still it was great that she and the bearded guy were just fans. But it wasn't lyrics written on the slip of paper and I cried when John opened the door. The movie could've ended right there really.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 12:24 PM on November 9, 2019

If you go out of your way to tell us that smoking never existed, but people still wave their phones at concerts, are you just trying to draw my attention to your using cheap special fx to make your stadium look full?
posted by rhamphorhynchus at 6:48 PM on April 7, 2020

This was surprisingly tolerable to a pair of queers who hate Ed Sheeran, The Beatles, and heterosexual rom-coms (it was MIL's choice for movie night). So, you might consider that a glowing endorsement.

Kate McKinnon definitely helped.
posted by brook horse at 8:31 PM on November 12, 2021 [1 favorite]

I agree that Jack and Ellie getting back together was very pat and rom-com-ish. The ending seemed telegraphed about ⅓ of the way through. But the characters were likable and it was overall decent light entertainment.

The missed opportunities for me were:
- It's not just that Jack was impossibly productive in a short period of time; the songs he was performing were borrowed from different points in the Beatles' musical evolution, and didn't make any sense in terms of artistic development. Initially I thought he might try to release the songs according to their original order.
- In a similar vein, just as the world would have developed differently without the Beatles in it (as mentioned upthread), the world is a different place today than it was when they were released, and those songs would be received differently today. There could have been some exploration of that. I thought that playing Back in the USSR in Russia was hanging the lampshade on the movie's unwillingness to do so.
posted by adamrice at 1:19 PM on April 20

« Older Podcast: The Adventure Zone: A...   |  Book: Dreadnought... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments