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The ‘Yesterday’ Exit Survey

What would a world without the Beatles be like? Unsurprisingly, that question just leads to more questions.

Universal Pictures/Getty Images/Ringer illustration

1. What is your tweet-length review of Yesterday?

David Lara: Somehow, Yesterday is a rom-com, a Beatles movie, and an episode of The Twilight Zone all rolled up into one.

Andrew Gruttadaro: The strangest/funniest movie premise of the year and … they wasted it on a bad love story.

Alison Herman: [Inserts clever Beatles pun to dress up a very straightforward take] This movie wasn’t great.

Ben Lindbergh: One of those cases where the what-if conversations you hear (and have) on the way out of the theater are more interesting than the movie itself.

2. What was the best moment of the movie?

Lindbergh: When I discovered that Kate McKinnon is in it.

Herman: The songs! They’re the sole reason this movie exists, which you can tell. That’s bad for the movie, but good for the sing-along scenes!

Gruttadaro: Ed Sheeran’s ringtone being “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran.

Lara: Rocky grabbing the chips in the middle of Jack and Ellie’s relationship conversation. Also the Google searches.

3. What was your least favorite part of the film?

Gruttadaro: Any time they pressed pause on the Beatles Twilight Zone stuff to revisit Jack and Ellie’s unrequited love, which was unfortunately frequent. To quote the older man sitting next to me, who got pretty upset when the movie started dragging out the romance drama: “Come on.

Lara: Somehow Jack is convinced to give up the life of fame and success that HE WANTED because the so-called love of this life makes him choose between her and his music? BRUH. Why can’t she move and become a teacher in L.A.?!

Lindbergh: See question number 9 (number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9, number 9 …).

Herman: The romance between Himesh Patel and Lily James, which felt … perfunctory? Listless? Devoid of natural conflict? Let’s go with all of the above.

4. Please try to explain the phenomena that caused the entire world—minus three people—to forget about the Beatles.

Lara: It was either a solar flare or EMP, I’m still not sure. All I know is it eliminated Harry Potter, Coke, and the Beatles while completely preserving the world those things built.

Gruttadaro: Yesterday very clearly seems to be a sequel to Chernobyl.

Lindbergh: Richard Curtis was probably smart not to try to explain it.

5. Finish the sentence: “Ed Sheeran was …”

Gruttadaro: … in this movie a shocking amount! I think he had the fourth-most lines?

Lara: … better in Game of Thrones (because he talked less).

Lindbergh: … not an impediment to my enjoyment of the movie.

Herman: … disturbingly appealing. I think I might “get” him now, which means it’s time to resign myself to a life of soft pop and steel drum samples.

Universal Pictures

6. What was the movie’s most unrealistic music industry moment?

Lindbergh: The label’s letting Jack launch the album in Gorleston? Beyond that, though, the supposition that a solo act like Jack would be that big a sensation releasing British Invasion–sounding songs in 2019. I wish that were true, but I don’t think it would be in a world that’s musically similar enough to our own to include Ed Sheeran and the Rolling Stones.

Herman: Kate McKinnon’s Svengali living in a David Geffen beachfront compound and not a midcentury fortress somewhere in the Silver Lake hills. The times (and preferred modes of conspicuous consumption), they are a-changin’!

Lara: The marketing team being diverse. But shout-out Lamorne Morris—he was hilarious.

Gruttadaro: When Ed Sheeran—one of the biggest pop stars in the universe—let Jack Malik—an up-and-coming musician who was stealing Sheeran’s spotlight—close out his sold-out concert at Wembley Stadium. Also: [hits “Upload All Songs”].

7. RIP, cigarettes, Oasis, and Harry Potter—what else doesn’t exist in the Yesterday universe?

Lindbergh: Coca-Cola! I prefer Pepsi, so I wouldn’t miss Coke, but I wonder what its absence means for the Mad Men finale.

Lara: Having no Coke is blasphemous. Street tacos would not be the same without a Mexican Coke.

Gruttadaro: I just remembered the whole “Harry Potter got erased too” thing and now I have to ask: Does that mean J.K. Rowling’s Twitter also doesn’t exist? What a happy ending to this movie!

8. What is Yesterday’s most unanswerable question?

Lara: Why didn’t Jack run back “Wonderwall” by Oasis?

Gruttadaro: How did Ellie afford to buy Jack a Martin guitar on a teacher’s budget?

Lindbergh: It’s a three-way tie among:

1. Why is this world mostly the same as ours despite missing so many major elements of our history and culture?
2. Why does no one seem to realize that Lily James and Himesh Patel are good-looking, and why don’t they date sooner?
3. What will people think when Jack sings, “Although I’m so tired / I’ll have another cigarette”?

Herman: If cigarettes don’t exist, do teens still Juul?

9. And finally we must discuss: OLD. JOHN. LENNON.

Lara: Old John Lennon is living his best Margaritaville life.

Gruttadaro: The wildest reveal in a movie this year so far: My guy’s just living on some sick waterfront property, dressing vaguely like he did in the late ’70s? (Also, does Old Fake John Lennon mean that both Ringo and Paul declined to appear in Yesterday? Or was it essential to imply that the Beatles’ music is to blame for Lennon’s death?)

Herman: When he kept talking about how he got to live out the decades with the love of his life, was he talking about Yoko?! Was actual Yoko not available?!?! Did they try to book Yoko?!?!?! If someone out there has a copy of that correspondence, DM me for my Signal.

Lindbergh: “Here I stand, head in hand / turn my face to the wall.” An all-time head-scratcher scene. Was Ringo too busy to be in this? If it had to be John, couldn’t Keanu have played him? This scene was almost as uncomfortable as watching a 30ish musician debut a song that starts with “Well, she was just 17 / And you know what I mean.”