If you discount the softballers (which conscientious review-readers need to do on a regular basis), the general reaction to Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis‘s Yesterday seems to be that it’s (a) cheerfully sappy and (b) occasionally eye-rolling.
Indiewire‘s David Ehrlich: “This sweet but vacuous exercise in suspending disbelief is an overstuffed and underwritten misfire; a studio-engineered crowd-pleaser so convinced that All You Need Is Love that it loses sight of some other essentials along the way: Believable characters, elegant pacing, a script that develops an actual heart instead of just nodding its head to a steady drumbeat of Hallmark emotions.”
In Owen Gleiberman’s view, Yesterday is “a cut-and-dried, rotely whimsical, prefab experience. [Supporting player] Kate McKinnon pushes her postmodern sarcasm to the wall — in Yesterday, she’s the acid-tongued incarnation of music-industry corruption. Yet beneath it all, there isn’t much difference between what Mandi does and what Boyle and Curtis are doing. They’re selling the Beatles all over again.”
To me Yesterday, which is basically about an enormous cosmic gift bestowed upon busker “Jack Malik” (Himesh Patel) by making him the only guy in the world who knows the entire Beatles library of tunes, seemed like an underwhelmer from the get-go.
From a 3.14 riff about Tribeca Film Festival announcement + trailer: “The fact that the trailer cutters chose to show clips of Patel singing ‘Yesterday’, ‘Let It Be’ and ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand speaks volumes.
“If this film was even half-cool, Patel/Malik would be shown singing ‘Girl’, ‘Things We Said Today’, ‘Norweigan Wood,’ ‘I’m Only Sleeping’, ‘Cry Baby Cry’, ‘You Never Give Me Your Money’, ‘Here, There, Everywhere,’ ‘Lovely Rita’, ‘Savoy Truffle’, ‘Got To Get You Into My Life’, ‘Everybody’s Got Something To Hide Except For Me and My Monkey’, ‘You Know My Name — Look Up The Number’ and ‘Tomorrow Never Knows.’
“But no — he can only croon the sappy top-40 Beatles tunes (I hate ‘The Long and Winding Road’ with every fibre of my being) that everyone has heard 17 million times and is sick to death of.”