Yesterday imagines a world without the Beatles — but can’t decide whether they mattered

Welcome to Cheat Sheet, our brief breakdown-style reviews of festival films, VR previews, and other special event releases. This review comes from the 2019 Tribeca Film Festival. It has been updated throughout for the film’s wide theatrical release.

Alternate-universe writers love painstakingly tracing how one historical change might rewrite pop music. In The Man in the High Castle, where Japan and Germany won World War II, Nazi censors strangled rock ’n’ roll in its crib. Wolfenstein, another fantasy about the Axis powers winning World War II, features a Nazi-fied alternative to The Beatles — renamed “Die Kafer,” with their iconic Abbey Road crosswalk photo set against a sinister fascist cityscape.

Danny Boyle and Richard Curtis’s film Y…

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