image for Yesterday

Short takes

Not recommended under 13; parental guidance to 15 (adult themes; lack of interest for younger viewers)

classification logo

This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Yesterday
  • a review of Yesterday completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 4 July 2019.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not recommended due to adult themes and lack of interest for younger viewers.
Children aged 13-15 Parental guidance recommended due to adult themes and lack of interest for younger viewers.
Children aged 16 and over Ok for this age group.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines. Other classification advice (OC) is provided where the Australian film classification is not available.

Name of movie: Yesterday
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Coarse language
Length: 116 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

Jack Malik (Himesh Patel) is a failed singer/songwriter despite the best efforts of his long-term friend and manager Ellie (Lily James). When his gig at the Latitude Festival draws a handful of kids as an audience, he decides to call it quits. On his way home, however, he is hit by a bus while riding a bike, due to a global power cut. Jack wakes up in hospital in an alternate reality.

He discovers that the blackout has wiped several things from the collective memory of the inhabitants of Earth including the Beatles, Coca Cola, cigarettes and Harry Potter. Jack delves into his own memory and starts playing all of the Beatles hits as his own. He quickly rises to super star status with even Ed Sheeran (himself) admitting that Jack is better than him. Jack’s conscience plagues him, however, and he has to decide whether to come clean and how to hold on to Ellie.


Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

The evolution of relationships, the price of fame and fortune, personal integrity vs personal desire.

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is some violence in this movie including:

  • Jack is hit by a bus while riding a bike.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:

Jack’s face after the accident is pretty messed up. He is missing teeth and his mouth looks a bit gruesome.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • When the lights go out around the world there is a slow motion shot of Jack being hit by the bus and flying through the air before he lands on his face. The driver rushes out to see if he is OK but Jack is unresponsive.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above mentioned violent scenes, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, including the following:

  • It is unlikely that any further scenes would disturb.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie:

  • Carlsberg beer
  • Kellogg’s Cornflakes
  • Costa coffee
  • Pepsi and mention of Coca Cola

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Jack’s friend asks him if he’s been making sweet love to his manager to which Ellie responds ‘No, never’.
  • Ed says that ‘someone should shag him’, referring to Jack
  • A remark is made that all the girls want to sleep with him (Jack).
  • There is an offhand comment made about how it is very bad for brothers and sisters to have sex.
  • Debra uses the exclamation: “Bang me backwards over a Buick…”
  • Jack is told by a friend that if he had someone like Ellie in his corner he would have: “Loved her up twice a day, like a lusty lion.”

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Jack and Ellie kiss passionately and fall on to a bed. Ellie decides to stop it there as she doesn’t want to be a one-night stand.
  • Later Jack and Ellie kiss again and it’s implied that they have sex but nothing is shown. Jack is seen with a bare top at the window.

Use of substances

There is some use of substances in this movie, including:

  • Drinking throughout the movie at various places including: at home; at a festival; at bars; on a plane.
  • Jack’s friend is referred to as a ‘lazy, drug taking drunk’.
  • Jack and Ellie drink a lot on the night they first get together romantically.
  • Cocaine mentioned but not used.

Coarse language

There is quite a lot of coarse language in this movie, including:

  • Christ
  • Oh my God
  • Bloody
  • Crap
  • Goddamn
  • Jesus
  • Pissed
  • Shit
  • Son of a bitch

In a nutshell

Yesterday is a British romantic comedy in its finest form. The juxtaposition between reality and an alternate reality is cleverly done including Jack meeting up with an older John Lennon. Due to its contents it isn’t suitable for younger children but teens and adults will enjoy it, especially if they are Beatles’ fans.

The main message from this movie is that personal happiness is more important than fame and fortune.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • Integrity
  • Good moral choices
  • Perseverance
  • Support of family and friends
  • Diversity

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss with their children attitudes and behaviours, and their real-life consequences, such as.

  • Was Jack’s decision to record the Beatles’ music as his own a right choice?
  • Ellie’s decision to put off having sex until they were both ready to commit to a long-term relationship showed integrity and courage.
  • The sacrifices people must be willing to make to lead a public life of success and fame and are these sacrifices worth it?