Luke Starkey’s review published on Letterboxd:
Yesterday plays with an interesting concept, but Danny Boyle fails to really make good on much of the potential such a story offers.
I'm kinda neutral when it comes to the Beatles, and so I was neither blown away or offended by certain aspects of Yesterday's plot, but I can imagine die-hard fans would no doubt have a pretty solid opinion, for better or worse. I meanwhile simply judged the movie based on what I saw, and it was... at best okay. Not bad, but not at all great. It falls well short of Boyle’s better pieces of cinema. As a comedy, it worked. It's rife with awkward dry British humor, and our lead in Himesh Petal delivers perfectly. Neither his or Lili James’s performances are lacking, even if the love story their two characters share is a little paint by the numbers.
Where the movie lacks is in its negligence in taking advantage of the opportunities offered in its plot. A man wakes up after a global event has somehow rewritten history. Almost as if he's he's living in a parallel universe of sorts and he seems to be the only one aware of it. The how or why are never explored, or even given the slightest look in. Instead, the full focus is given to our lead, Jack Malik who after discovering the Beatles have never become a thing, takes to stealing their music and presenting it as his own, and the world falls in love with him. Okay, so it's a film for music lovers. Not Scifi fans, I get that. Kind of like What Women Want is a romance film when it could've made for a sinister as fuck thriller. But even so, the repercussions of stealing some of the greatest ballads ever are nothing to be just looked over, but in Yesterday that's exactly what happens. There's an internal struggle with the guilt, but never an external threat of any sort. He gains a rival in Ed Sherin who proper outstays his welcome as a jarring distraction in a part that should've simply been a cameo. Kate Mckinnon meanwhile co-stars as what feels like the attempt to draw in American audiences, bringing her usual schtick which really has no place in a film what's greatest asset is British humor.
All in all, Yesterday feels like a desperate attempt by Boyle to appeal to a more family-friendly crowd. He's avoided any risk and focused more on humor than narrative. Quickly enough things conclude almost too perfectly, and while I wasn't thrilled, I was at least mildly entertained.