The semi rom-com, semi sci-fi movie is written by Richard Curtis and directed by Danny Boyle. While both are great filmmakers, Yesterday is a mish-mash of ideas and genres but one thing that’s consistent throughout is the music and how it drives the story. With that in mind, we wanted to list the ten best musical moments from the film.
The first time he sings a Beatles song, Himesh Patel’s Jack Malik isn’t aware that no one around him knows the band’s music. So after being given a new guitar, everyone wants to hear him play it. The first song that comes into his head is Yesterday, the film’s titular track and one of the Beatles’ most famous tunes.
Taking away the production that lots of the other songs throughout the film have, Yesterday is just one person and a guitar and it’s a really beautiful moment really early on starting the movie’s real narrative about someone who can write these kinds of incredible songs.
9 I Want To Hold Your Hand
During a montage where Jack records his first songs for his EP, he plays I Want To Hold Your Hand which acts as the soundtrack for a little montage of him recording in a studio on the train tracks. It’s in this moment we see the connection between him and Lily James’ Ellie who joins in to help him record the percussion.
This is one of the more truthful moments of the movie, showing us how close they are and reflecting the really upbeat feeling of this classic Beatles song.
8 Let It Be
Introducing his new sound to his parents comes in the form of Jack playing Let It Be to them on the family piano in their front room. He’s feeling nervous and understandably so because they’re about the be the first people to ever hear this iconic song that was such a huge hit for The Beatles.
This is a really comedic scene in which his parents played by Meera Syal and Sanjeev Bhaskar are distracted by something each time he starts to play the song. This comedy really cuts through the tension of how you bring such an emotive song to the big screen in what’s effectively a romantic comedy.
7 Carry That Weight
When things start to spiral out of control, we get a rendition of Carry That Weight, a lesser-known Beatles tune that thumps out the speakers to show us the turmoil that Jack is feeling at the time.
Its pounding drum and slight feel of monotony invite the audience to ask the question of how is he going to get out of the predicament he’s got himself in. The choice of songs in Yesterday is really well done - and let’s be honest, there’s a lot to choose from. Lyrics and motifs are picked out from the Beatles’ back catalog to reflect all the characters’ journeys throughout.
Help! comes to Jack in the big performance towards the end of the second act where he’s starting to lose it and after he’s had someone question him about the songs he’s singing. He’s on stage in front of a huge crowd in his home town and he’s just had an argument with the girl he can’t admit he loves.
This is one of the biggest changes made to a song in the movie’s re-recording of the music and the rocked-up version we hear of the incredibly well-known Beatles song is another great song choice that reflects Jack’s inner turmoil.
5 Back In The U.S.S.R
One of the earlier songs in the movie, Back In the U.S.S.R is one of the first Jack plays to a live audience after he starts touring with Ed Sheeran. And with the source material available, it’s easy to think the location of Russia must have been chosen for the script just so the movie could use this absolute banger of a Beatles song.
The movie uses the full spectrum of Beatles music in the same chronologically-confusing way that Rocketman uses Elton John’s music. Back In the U.S.S.R, for example, comes from the love it or hate it White Album.
4 The Long And Winding Road
Being challenged to a song-writing contest by Ed Sheeran isn’t something many people would invite. Unless, of course, you’ve got an arsenal of unheard Beatles songs hidden up your sleeve. This is the point in the movie where he doubles down on his lie, accepting that he’s going to be playing stolen music to make a name for himself.
Jack sits down at the piano to play The Long And Winding Road, a later-stage Beatles ballad that shows everyone the skills Jack has at being able to pull these incredible songs out of the bag at short notice.
3 Hey Jude
Of one of the ideas that’s touched on but not truly explored, Hey Jude comes at a point in the movie where it almost makes a comment on the modern music industry; in fact, it almost comes at the back-end of a joke.
It’s a moment seen in the trailer where Ed Sheeran tells Jack he should change the lyrics to Hey Dude, a thought that would make any Beatles fans’ toes curl. After all, you wouldn’t ask AC/DC to rename their most famous song Back in Blue or see if Elvis fancies changing into some red suede shoes.
2 Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da
The end of the movie - without spoiling it - sees Jack come to terms with what he’s done and continue to want to share the Beatles music with the world and there’s a really lovely moment where he’s singing Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da with a bunch of kids who are all listening to this kooky song for the first time.
Again, a song off the stranger-than-most White Album, the Ob-La-Di Ob-La-Da chant in the song is one of the most recognizable moments in a Beatles song and makes for a really great moment in the movie.
1 All You Need Is Love
Perhaps one of the Beatles’ most famous tunes, All You Need Is Love plays a really important part in Yesterday as Jack and Ellie’s story comes to its obvious conclusion. In a WTF podcast with Marc Maron, the host says that people are just born with certain sections of Beatles songs ingrained in their heads and this is one of them.
In the movie’s biggest sing-along moments, a huge crowd of people join in with the exclamation that All You Need Is Love - and it’s a really great moment on screen.