Curtis’s twee, nudging, corny comedic voice is very much the main sensibility here, far more so than anything offered by director Danny Boyle or anyone else involved.
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This sweet but vacuous exercise in suspending disbelief is an overstuffed and underwritten misfire.
Yesterday is a film we’re all familiar with, for better or worse.
A glowing tribute to The Beatles and their music, this is both a toe-tapping pleasure to watch and a smart, occasionally scathing look at how we get things wrong.
Neither a no-nonsense delight like "She Loves You" nor the White Album-style head trip its premise might suggest, it's more of a "Yellow Submarine" sort of film: crowd-pleasing and sometimes enjoyable, but pretty damned dumb when you stop to think about it.
Yesterday doesn’t take too many chances, but it does boast a well-told story with a cast that’s game for both its comedic and more dramatic moments.
It has a killer premise, yet the movie seems to actively resent its own fantastic idea and just, instead, decided to become a fairly average romantic comedy — only with a lot more Beatles songs than the average rom com.
In Yesterday, [Boyle and Curtis] reduce the Beatles to the ultimate product by declaring, at every turn, “These songs are transcendent!” And it’s the fact that they keep telling us, rather than showing us (i.e., with musical sequences that earned their transcendence), that makes Yesterday, for all the timeless songs in it, a cut-and-dried, rotely whimsical, prefab experience.
Although this film can be a bit hokey and uncertain on narrative development, the puppyish zest and fun summoned up by Curtis and Boyle carry it along.
The film has lots of fun with its premise – until America beckons, then suddenly it seems to lose its head of steam. ... Yet it rallies in style for a beautifully judged and surprisingly moving finale.