Yesterday | Chicago Reader


Director Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire) and screenwriter Richard Curtis (Love Actually) have divergent cinematic sensibilities, but they meld well enough in this bittersweet, slightly wacky musical fantasy rom-com about an alternative universe where the Beatles never existed. In his first big-screen role—the lead, for which he learned proficiency at both piano and guitar—-Himesh Patel (the BBC's EastEnders) plays an aspiring singer-composer from Suffolk whose talent doesn't match the size of his dreams. After a freakish global blackout, he awakens to a world in which no trace remains of the Fab Four other than in his own memory, so he decides to pass off their songbook as his own. This turns out to be a smashing idea. Patel impresses with his musical ability and pleasing voice (all his performances were recorded live) as he progresses from early Beatles love songs to complex ballads like "The Long and Winding Road"; his punk-rock rendition of "Help!" in particular shows why the band will always be relevant. The excellent supporting cast includes Lily James as his smitten local manager; Joel Fry (Game of Thrones) as his inept roadie; Ed Sheeran as an endearing version of himself; and Kate McKinnon as a hilariously bulldozing Hollywood star maker (reportedly based on her own agent—yow!).



  • Danny Boyle


  • Himesh Patel
  • Lily James
  • Sophia DiMartino
  • Ellise Chappell
  • Meera Syal
  • Harry Michell
  • Vincent Franklin
  • Joel Fry
  • Kate McKinnon
  • Ed Sheeran


  • Jack Barth
  • Richard Curtis


  • Alexander Dostal
  • Bernard Bellew
  • Danny Boyle
  • Eric Fellner
  • Lee Brazier
  • Matthew James Wilkinson
  • Nick Angel
  • Richard Curtis
  • Tim Bevan

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