“Yesterday” (Universal)

Himesh Patel stars in a scene from the movie "Yesterday." The Catholic News Service classification is A-III -- adults. (CNS/Universal)

By Catholic News Service

A British-Indian shelf stocker (Himesh Patel) whose side career as a musician and singer is going nowhere finds his life transformed when a brief but global blackout somehow retroactively removes the Beatles from history and from everyone’s memory except his. That leaves him free to become the world’s most famous performer by recording the Fab Four’s songs as his own. On his ascent to universal celebrity, which is aided by pop star Ed Sheeran, playing himself, his devoted manager and would-be girlfriend (Lily James) willingly steps aside in favor of a harshly cynical industry insider (Kate McKinnon) while a slacker (Joel Fry) from his small hometown in Suffolk becomes his less-than-reliable roadie.

More charming than logical, director Danny Boyle’s comic counter-history is populated with appealing characters and, as scripted by Richard Curtis, puts its protagonist through some amusing situations. The romance at the heart of it all reaches a moral wrap-up but not before initial restraint gives way to premature passion. Together with the violations of the Second Commandment with which the screenplay is littered, that lapse suggests this otherwise amiable fantasy is best for grown viewers.

Implied premarital sexual activity, mature references, including to drug use and sexuality, numerous profanities, at least one rough term, occasional crude and crass language. The Catholic News Service classification is A-III — adults. The Motion Picture Association of America rating is PG-13 — parents strongly cautioned. Some material may be inappropriate for children under 13.

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