Starring: Himesh Patel, Lily James, Kate McKinnon, Ed Sheeran, Ana de Armas, Lamorne Morris, Sophia Di Martino, Joel Fry, Ellise Chappell, Harry Michell, Alexander Arnold, James Corden, Sanjeev Bhaskar, Karl Theobald, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr
OUR RATING: ★★★½
Musical comedy directed by Danny Boyle. Yesterday (2019) follows struggling musician Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) whose dreams of fame are rapidly fading, despite the fierce devotion and support of his childhood best friend, Ellie (Lily James). Then, after a freak bus accident during a mysterious global blackout, Jack wakes up to discover that The Beatles have never existed. Jack takes this as a chance to start his own musical career by plagiarizing the once known songs and becomes one of the most talented musicians of all time with a little help from his steel-hearted American agent, Debra (Kate McKinnon). But as his star rises, he risks losing Ellie, the one person who always believed in him. With the door between his old life and his new closing, Jack will need to get back to where he once belonged and prove his love.
Our Favorite Quote:
Jack Malik: [after his gig ends in disappointment] You got to stop pretending that we’re in a thrilling story, with a big exciting end. We’re in a little story, and it ends now. I think I hear something special in my songs, you think you hear something special, and I love you for it. But no one else does. No one ever has.
Ellie Appleton: Nick loves The Summer Song.
Jack Malik: Nick is famously a world-class moron. If it hasn’t happened by now, it’s not going to. It’ll take a miracle.
Ellie Appleton: Miracles happen.
Jack Malik: I mean it. This is a serious moment for me.
Ellie Appleton: This is just absolutely not happening.
Jack Malik: Look, I can’t be the star that we thought I could be at fourteen, on that day in the school hall when I sang a pretty cool cover of Wonderwall, and you were there, backstage.
Ellie Appleton: I’m not hearing a word.
Jack Malik: Okay, but look, this was my last gig. And I’m so happy you were there. This is the end of our long and winding road.
Ellie Appleton: The world is full of miracles.
Jack Malik: Like what?
Ellie Appleton: Benedict Cumberbatch becoming a sex symbol.
Jack Malik: Oh…
Ellie Appleton: You’ll change your mind.
Jack Malik: I won’t. This is the start of a better life. And I’m feeling perky about it.
Ellie Appleton: [visits Jack in the hospital after he’s been hit by a bus] Can I just say one thing? Just to warn you. I’ve spoken with the doctor, and you will walk again. But you have lost your beard, and two big teeth. And even though it should be sad, it’s actually very funny, unfortunately. So despite all the pain and inconvenience, you’re not even going to get any sympathy. People will just laugh at you.
Jack Malik: What happened?
Ellie Appleton: No one knows. It was all over the world. Electricity flicked off for twelve seconds. You were just unlucky that, at that exact moment, a big bus hit you. You know, the weird thing they thought was going to happen at midnight when we hit 2000?
Jack Malik: Oh, yeah, Y2K.
Ellie Appleton: It sort of happened. It was very big news, which you missed entirely. Because of the bus.
Ellie Appleton: Right. I’ve got to get back to school.
Jack Malik: Elle?
Ellie Appleton: Yeah?
Jack Malik: Thanks for taking such good care of me.
Ellie Appleton: You’re welcome. I’ll come back later.
Jack Malik: [recites the line from When I’m Sixty Four by The Beatles] Will you still need me, will you still feed me, when I’m sixty-four?
Ellie Appleton: [chuckle] I don’t know. I’ll think about it. Why sixty-four?
Jack Malik: What do you mean?
Ellie Appleton: It’s just, oh, forget it.
Jack Malik: What do you mean, “Why sixty-four?”
Ellie Appleton: I think the accident was a message from God. Yeah, he was very angry.
Jack Malik: Elle, you think me getting hit by a bus was God’s way of telling me not to go back to teaching?
Ellie Appleton: Exactly. Incredible. It’s amazing. You know, God loves your stuff.
Jack Malik: Look, if God had been remotely interested in my stuff, he would’ve once, right, just once, had someone write me a fan letter who wasn’t my mum.
Ellie Appleton: [chuckles] Or me.
Jack Malik: Yeah. I didn’t ask to be The Beatles, you know, I just wanted once to have a standing ovation not given by people who were already standing at the bar.
Ellie Appleton: Be the what?
Nick: [referring to Jack losing his two front teeth after his accident] I know Ellie said it was funny, but no one mentioned visual humor of this quality.
Carol: Jack! Oh, my God! Your teeth.
Nick: [as Ellie gets him his wrapped present, which looks like a guitar] I don’t know what this one could possibly be.
Carol: Oh, my. Neither do I.
Nick: No idea.
Jack Malik: I mean, I’m thinking some sort of snow shovel.
Ellie Appleton: Mm-hmm.
Jack Malik: Or a tiny little giraffe with no legs.
Ellie Appleton: Just open it, open it, open it.
Jack Malik: [opens his present to see it’s a beautiful looking guitar] Okay. Wow.
Nick: Because yours got run over by a bus.
Ellie Appleton: [after Jack sings Yesterday] What the hell was that?
Jack Malik: Yesterday.
Carol: That was one of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard.
Rocky: Yeah. I mean, it’s a bit-bit sloppy, but it’s sweet.
Ellie Appleton: When did you write that?
Jack Malik: I didn’t write it. Paul McCartney wrote it, The Beatles.
Jack Malik: The Beatles.
Carol: The what?
Jack Malik: John, Paul, George and Ringo, The Beatles.
Rocky: Which beetles is this? The insect beetles or the car Beetles?
Jack Malik: The pop group Beatles.
Jack Malik: [referring to his friends not knowing The Beatles] Wow, this is the most complicated joke I’ve ever heard.
Nick: Nice song, though.
Jack Malik: It’s not a nice song.
Nick: No, it is, mate. Don’t do yourself down just because you look like a cartoon character. It’s a very nice song.
Jack Malik: It’s not a very nice song, Nick. It’s one of the greatest songs ever written.
Carol: Well, it’s not Coldplay. It’s not Fix You.
Jack Malik: It’s not bloody Fix You, Carol, it’s a great, great work of art.
Carol: Wow, somebody’s suddenly got very cocky.
Ellie Appleton: [referring to Yesterday] That song was exquisite. How come I’ve never heard it before?
Jack Malik: Okay, I don’t know what you guys are playing at, but this is so weird, and quite unfair, in light of me having lost two teeth, looking like a sort of reverse rabbit, and I’m on pretty heavy medication. Just let me out.
Ellie Appleton: [stops the car] Alright. I thought you liked the medication.
Jack Malik: Yeah, I do love the medication.
Ellie Appleton: I really don’t know what you’re cross about.
[Jack gets out of the car, gets his things, and Ellie drives off]
Jack Malik: [after finding no search results for The Beatles on the internet] Oh, you are having me on.
Jack Malik: [goes over to his record collection] B, B, B, B. Bowie. Beck. Beach Boys.
Jack Malik: [sees that he has no Beatles records] No. Stop it.
Jack Malik: [goes over to Ellie’s house in the middle of the night] Do you genuinely not know who The Beatles are?
Ellie Appleton: Genuinely.
Jack Malik: Okay. Then I’m in a really, really, really complicated situation. See you soon. Nice pajamas.
Sheila Malik: [as Jack’s singing Let It Be] Jack’s just playing us a new song.
Terry: Oh, really? I thought he’d given up.
Jed Malik: Yeah, no, well, he’s got some new songs. What’s this one called?
Sheila Malik: Leave It Be.
Jack Malik: Let It Be.
Terry: Oh, excellent. Well, rock on, Jack.
Jack Malik: Well, it’s not very rocky, but…
[he starts to play the song on the piano]
Terry: [as Jack’s playing and singing Let It Be, his phone rins] Ooh, sorry. Sorry, Jack. That’s me. Sorry, my fault. Oh, it’s Marge.
Sheila Malik: Oh.
Terry: Hello, love. I’m just at Jed and Sheila’s house listening to Jack’s new song, Let Him Be.
Jack Malik: Let It Be.
Terry: Let It Be. No, well, apparently, he’s started up again. Yeah. Yeah, I know. I know. I know. Yeah, I know. I know.
Jack Malik: What do you know?
Terry: Listen, I’ll call you back when it’s over, alright? Oh, alright, then. Yeah. Okay. See you in a minute.
Terry: [ends the call] Right. Carry on broadcasting, young man.
Jed Malik: Maybe start after the first bit. I’ve heard it three times now.
Jack Malik: If it’s okay, I’m going to go from the top.
Jed Malik: Please yourself, son.
Jack Malik: [tries to play Let It Be gets interrupted again] Christ! This is Let It Be! You’re the first people on Earth to hear this song! This is like watching da Vinci paint The Mona Lisa right in front of your bloody eyes! Can you not just be quiet for a single second?
Terry: [the doorbell rings] Ooh, that’ll be Marge.
Jed Malik: Oh, Marjorie!
Terry: Well, she said she was going to come round, so I’ll… Oh, yeah.
Jack Malik: [looking dejected] Well, that went well.
Jed Malik: [ignores Jack] Oh, that’s good coffee.
[Jack gets his guitar to leave]
Jack Malik: Elle.
Ellie Appleton: Hm?
Jack Malik: These songs.
Ellie Appleton: Mm?
Jack Malik: There’s something about them you should know.
[they get interrupted by Jack get a call from Ed Sheeran]
Jack Malik: [after Ed’s asked him to be his opening act] How long do you need?
Ed Sheeran: About thirty minutes maximum. Any more than that, people start getting a bit restless. You know, “Bring on the ginger geezer.”
Ed Sheeran: Nice to meet you.
Jed Malik: You look like Ed Sheeran, you know.
Ed Sheeran: I am Ed Sheeran.
Jed Malik: Oh, right. Well done.
Ed Sheeran: So, look, I’m sorry to barge in like this.
Jack Malik: No, no, major pop stars are always dropping round, you know? Lady Gaga won’t leave us alone.
Ed Sheeran: [chuckles] You’re funny.
Jack Malik: Well, funny looking, at least.
Rocky: [as he and Jack join Ed Sheeran on his tour] Love your work, man.
Ed Sheeran: Thank you.
Rocky: Especially the rapping.
Ed Sheeran: Really?
Rocky: No, I’m only kidding. No, leave it to the brothers, that’d be my advice. Gingers and rap, sounds a bit crap.
Ed Sheeran: Well, you may be right.
Ed Sheeran: I was always told that there would be someone who came along that was a lot better than me, and you are definitely better than me, Jack. Yeah, wow. That was one of the best songs I’ve heard in my life.
Jack Malik: I mean, these things are complicated.
Ed Sheeran: Yeah. Obviously not complicated for you, though, right? I think I’m going to go to bed.
Ed Sheeran: [to the audience] Someone should probably shag him while they have the chance.
Debra Hammer: [after hearing Jack’s playing more Beatles songs] Hi. I’m Debra Hammer. I’m Ed’s manager. We should talk.
Jed Malik: Yeah. I, well, I mean, I’ve kind of got a manager back home.
Debra Hammer: Oh?
Jed Malik: No, but, no, but we should talk. Yeah.
Debra Hammer: Okay, great. That’s great. Good. Have a good night. I’ll see you in Los Angeles.
Jed Malik: In Los Angeles?
Debra Hammer: Yeah, well, we need you to come to LA. See, we pay, and then you come and you write songs, and then we release them, and you make a ton of money. And then we take most of it. Okay. I have a question. Is this the best that you can look?
Debra Hammer: [Jack doesn’t know what to say] We’ll figure it out. Gorgeous.
Ellie Appleton: [as Jack is packing to go to LA] Will you miss me, Jack?
Jack Malik: Of course I’ll miss you. Hey. Of course I’ll miss you.
Ellie Appleton: You’re leaving, so I can ask you anything. How did I get in the wrong column? How did I get in the “friend, manager, roadie” column, instead of the “And I Love Her” column?
[before Jack can answer they are interrupted by a knock on the door]
Debra Hammer: Welcome to my little beach shack. Thank you for coming all this way. Good to see you. Well, you’re not very attractive.
Jack Malik: No.
Debra Hammer: You’re out of shape.
Jack Malik: Yes.
Debra Hammer: You are skinny, yet, somehow, round.
Jack Malik: Uh-huh.
Debra Hammer: You have been profoundly unsuccessful for ten years.
Jack Malik: Yep.
Debra Hammer: And until about a month ago, we’d call you a complete failure.
Jack Malik: Well, that’s not quite how I’d put it, but…
Debra Hammer: We would say that you were a complete failure.
Jack Malik: Yeah.
Debra Hammer: But now, now you’ve hit an extraordinary songwriting groove, and you want to be the biggest star in the world.
Jack Malik: Well…
Debra Hammer: Yes, is the answer to that question.
Jack Malik: Well, yes, I guess.
Debra Hammer: Not, “Well, yes, I guess.” “Yes.”
Jack Malik: I guess.
Debra Hammer: Buddy, what I’m offering you is the great and glorious poisoned chalice of money and fame. If you don’t want to drink it, which I would understand, go back and have a warm beer in little bonny England. If you do want to drink it, I need to hear you say, “Debra, I’m so thirsty. Give me the goddamn chalice.” So, which is it?
Jack Malik: I’ll take the chalice.
Jack Malik: It’s times like this, I wish I hadn’t given up smoking. I could just murder a cigarette.
Rocky: Yeah. What’s a cigarette?
Jack Malik: What?!
Ellie Appleton: And how do you think it’s going so far?
Jack Malik: It’s not great, but…
Ellie Appleton: No, no, let me try and help. You’ve had twenty years to make your move.
Jack Malik: Well, I couldn’t exactly make my move when I was seven.
Ellie Appleton: Then you’ve had ten years.
Jack Malik: Right. Well, we’ve always been like brother and sister. It’s very bad indeed for brothers and sisters to have sex.
Ellie Appleton: Except that we’re not brother and sister.
Jack Malik: No, exactly. Right, but…
Ellie Appleton: No, so, I’ve been waiting half my life for you to wake up and love me. Having loved you for half a lifetime, I realized when you left, that I had made a bad choice doing that. And now, it’s got even trickier because when you were playing in pubs, we were the perfect match. But now, I’m an actual schoolteacher in actual Lowestoft, and you’re the world’s greatest singer-songwriter.
Jack Malik: No, I’m not.
Ellie Appleton: Except that you probably are.
Ellie Appleton: In the end, to you, I’ll always really just be Ellie with the frizzy hair. And Ellie from the “fun chum” column. Ellie, who, for reasons no one understands, drives you around in her car. So, just go and please just catch your plane.
Jack Malik: We haven’t finished the conversation.
Ellie Appleton: Well, we have. We have. Unless, in Liverpool Lime Street, at 11:14 on a Friday, unless you choose to stay.
Debra Hammer: [they get interrupted by Rocky holding up his phone with Debra Facetiming] Jack. Jack, you have to get on the plane. What are you still doing in Liverpool?
Jack Malik: I can’t stay today. I’ve got to do The Late Late Show tomorrow, and I’ve got to do the Marketing Meeting of Meetings, and, oh, it’s ridiculous…
Ellie Appleton: And that was your chance. Now, quick, go. Please, leave.
Rocky: Sorry. Hey, do you mind if I nick a couple of crisps for the journey?
Ellie Appleton: Look, I want you to be happy, and to make marvelous music. I always have. No, not all the crisps!
Ellie Appleton: Just go, go, go, go, go. Your future is out the door and to the left. A taxi rank.
Jack Malik: I’m sorry.
James Corden: Because as chance would have it, and do forgive me, because we love a surprise on this show. As chance would darn well have it, I’ve got two men backstage who claim that the songs are theirs. In fact, they say that all of your tunes are the work of their band, The Beatles.
Jack Malik: I don’t know. I…
James Corden: Well, let’s see how this plays out, shall we? Ladies and gentlemen, all the way from Liverpool, England, please welcome, Mr. Paul McCartney, and Mr. Ringo Starr!
[we see Jack open his eyes from having a nightmare that he’s on The Late Late Show]
Debra Hammer: [to Jack] Bang me backwards over a Buick. It’s going to be the greatest album of all time.
Ed Sheeran: It’s really incredible, man.
Ed Sheeran: I mean, I just, I don’t believe you. It’s one genius idea after the other, you know?
Jack Malik: Oh, right.
Ed Sheeran: I do have a suggestion though. About the song. The title, Hey Jude. Jude is just, it’s a bit old fashioned. That was the kid’s name, right?
Jack Malik: What kid?
Ed Sheeran: That the song’s about.
Jack Malik: Oh, the kid, the kid, the kid. Yes, the sad kid.
Ed Sheeran: Now, let me just give you this advice, right? Song title. I won’t charge you a penny for it as well. Hey Dude.
Jack Malik: Hey Dude, are you sure?
Debra Hammer: He’s right. That’s so much better.
Jack Malik: Is he? Is it?
Ed Sheeran: Yeah, yeah.
Ed Sheeran: [sings] Hey, dude, don’t make it bad.
Debra Hammer: Yes. Mm-hmm.
Jack Malik: [to himself] This isn’t real.
Ed Sheeran: Definitely going to be one of the best songs of the generation.
Ed Sheeran: [sings] Hey, dude.
Jack Malik: [to himself] Wake up. Wake up, Jack. Wake up.
Jack Malik: How the hell am I supposed to get any of the songs right, if you’re just all clustering me, and stopping me from being creative? How can I ever be creative if I’m never ever left alone?!
Debra Hammer: Okay. We’ll leave you alone then, genius.
Jack Malik: No, I’m not. I’m sorry.
Debra Hammer: No, it’s superstar rights. Treat the people that you work with like s**t on your shoes.
Rocky: [referring to Ellie dating Gaving] Ellie told you the news, then?
Jack Malik: Yeah.
Rocky: You know, I never, never understood what you didn’t see in her. I mean, if I’d been you, twice a day, I would have loved her up like a lusty lion.
Jack Malik: Rocky, if I ask you to just shut up, really, really, really shut up, would that be okay?
Rocky: Right. Can I just start again, and say, “Isn’t it wonderful news? And I hope they’ll be very happy together, and have gorgeous kids.” Is that better?
Jack Malik: No, it’s worse.
Debra Hammer: And who have we here?
Jack Malik: Debra, this is Ellie. Ellie, this is Debra, my agent.
Debra Hammer: No! The Ellie?
Ellie Appleton: Oh! He’s mentioned me?
Debra Hammer: No. No, I’m kidding. I know nothing about his life because he’s a product to me. Unless you’re the one that was his manager. In which case, wow. Huge mistake giving that up.
Jack Malik: I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have left Lime Street, okay? It was a terrible mistake.
Ellie Appleton: Oh, no. Don’t say that, please.
Jack Malik: Can we…?
Ellie Appleton: Don’t say that.
Jack Malik: Elle…
Ellie Appleton: I’ve heard your new songs. They’re incredible.
Jack Malik: Okay. No, they aren’t.
Ellie Appleton: I don’t even know who you are anymore. Everything changed after the accident. What happened?
Reporter: [at a press conference] No one has ever written this many great songs in this short a time. How do you do it?
Jack Malik: Honestly, I don’t know. Sometimes it feels like someone else has written all the songs.
Reporter: Any idea who?
[the reporters laugh]
Rocky: Actually, before I open this door, can I just say, for a long time I didn’t really know why I’d been born. Felt a bit pointless. But now I do know. I was born to serve the greatest musician of all time. It is my honor now to open this door for the moment the entire world has been waiting for.
Jack Malik: Thanks, Rock. Oh, it’s certainly been one hell of a journey, hasn’t it?
Rocky: So it has. So it has.
Liz: [after two fans have told Jack they know he plagiarized the songs] A world without The Beatles, is a world that’s infinitely worse. So, thank you. And use it well.
Jack Malik: I’m trying, but it’s hard. There’s so much money and success coming, but I feel like I’ve become the definition of living a lie.
Liz: Well, I can see it might feel like that. We thought this might help.
Jack Malik: I beg your pardon?
Liz: [gives Jack a piece of paper] Here. We’ve done a lot of digging.
[she kisses Jack on the cheek, and they leave]
John Lennon: [afterJack goes to meet him at his house] Hello. Can I help?
Jack Malik: I don’t know. Are you John?
John Lennon: That’s right.
Jack Malik: From Liverpool?
John Lennon: That’s right.
Jack Malik: It’s an honor to meet you.
Jack Malik: John?
John Lennon: Yeah?
Jack Malik: Have you had a happy life?
John Lennon: Very.
Jack Malik: But not successful.
John Lennon: I just said very happy. That means successful. I did a job I enjoyed day after day. Sailed the world. Fought for things I believed in, and won a couple of times. Found a woman I loved. Fought hard to keep her too. Lived my life with her.
Jack Malik: Fought hard for her?
John Lennon: There were complica… Sorry, what’s your name?
Jack Malik: Jack.
John Lennon: There were complications, young Jack. Loss and gain. Prejudice and pride. But it all turned out just fab.
John Lennon: How’s your love life?
Jack Malik: Bad. I let her slip away.
John Lennon: Try to get her back. You want a good life? It’s not complicated. Tell the girl you love that you love her. And tell the truth to everyone whenever you can.
Jack Malik: Can I give you a hug?
John Lennon: What?
Jack Malik: It’s so good to see you. How old are you?
John Lennon: Seventy-eight.
Jack Malik: Fantastic! You made it to seventy-eight.
John Lennon: You’re a very strange man. But go ahead. You need serious psychiatric help.
Jack Malik: Not anymore.
Jack Malik: [to the crowd, referring to the giant screen showing Ellie] This is Ellie. And when I had no fans, Ellie was my only fan. The only person in the world who believed in me. And that’s why, tonight, I asked Ed if I could come on and play, because I want to tell her, and you, what I’ve done. Darn it, Ellie, I’ve been untrue. All the songs I’ve sung tonight were really written and performed by four men called John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison, and Ringo Starr. The Beatles. They were the real geniuses. Me, I’m just a sort of go-between to, well, get their astonishing stuff into the world. And I passed their amazing work off as my own, so I could look like I was amazing too. I want you all to know that I’m not going to take any money for this work that isn’t mine. So you can have all the songs for free. Rocky, do it.
Rocky: Right. Here goes.
Jack Malik: [uploads the songs for free to the internet] They’re being released, for free, online now. And I’d love to not take any more praise for it. So, I’m so sorry.
Jack Malik: [addresses the Wembley Stadium crowd] And while I’m at it, there’s one other thing to say as well, because I’ve been a fool twice over. And I want to thank Ellie for her love. Ellie. Elle, I love you. I always have. Always. That’s definitely enough talking for one night. But it’s been a blast!
[the crowd cheers]
Ellie Appleton: [Jack meets her backstage] Oh, my God.
Jack Malik: I know.
Ellie Appleton: That’s a lot of information to take in.
Jack Malik: I know.
Ellie Appleton: Well, if you’d told me I was going to be on the big screen, I’d have got my hair done.
Jack Malik: I’m sorry.
Ellie Appleton: You didn’t write any of the songs?
Jack Malik: No.
Ellie Appleton: That is very bad behavior. On a global scale.
Jack Malik: Yeah. It’s very bad.
Gavin: [to Jack and Ellie] Well, this is a strange one. Of course I’ve always known I was number two. But that’s not a bad place to be. Some of the best songs never made it to number one. Common People by Pulp, for a start. It’s a total classic. And obviously all I want is for Ellie to be happy.
Ellie Appleton: [kisses his cheek] Gavin. Best man I ever met. Thank you, Gavin.
Jack Malik: Oh, I feel like Harry Potter after he defeated Voldemort. At last, everything can go back to normal. Isn’t normal wonderful?
Ellie Appleton: Who?
Jack Malik: Sorry?
Ellie Appleton: Harry Potter. Who’s he?
[we see Jack not finding anything about Harry Potter on the internet]
Jack Malik: No one. Nothing. Time for bed.
Ellie Appleton: Time.
[we see Jack singing The Beatles song Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da to his students as we see montage of him and Ellie getting married and having a family]