Only Yesterday was first released all the way back in 1991, but it took forever for it to get an English dub. I was lucky enough to get the Blu-Ray Only Yesterday Collector’s Edition for Christmas in 2022, which by the way is the best version to get. I had heard nothing, but great things about this movie and I am pleased to say that it more than lived up to the hype.
How to Download Only Yesterday
You can download or stream the film from a digital platform. Click on the Download button at the end of this review and make your choice.
The Movie Review
This is brought to us by Studio Ghibli and the writer and director of the movie is Isao Takahata, the founder of the studio. He is responsible for some of my favorites like Pom Poko and Grave of the Fireflies which sandwich Only Yesterday. This is truly some of his finest work and just an engaging movie from start to end.
The thing is, when you talk about Only Yesterday it is the kind of movie that sounds so unremarkable, but when you watch it, it has this very special quality about it that plugs right into your soul. I have watched this a couple of times already and both times it hit me right in the feels the same way.
The story of Only Yesterday is about a woman called Taeko who is in her late 20s. Taeko lives in the city and she feels like something is missing from her life. The interesting thing about Taeko is that she is arguably the most relatable character in any Studio Ghibli movie. She has no “major” problems to deal with and feels like a very real and normal kind of person that just wants to be happy.
Sick of city life, she decides to take a break and head to the countryside where her family lives to help out with this local festival that is going on there. As she makes her way, Taeko starts reminiscing about her childhood and the dreams, romances, struggles and so on that she had and starts to question if she is living the life she dreamed she would have as a child.
I fully understand that on paper, Only Yesterday does not sound like the most gripping movie. Where are the talking animals? Where are the magic spells? Where is the extreme obstacle for our hero to overcome? However, these things are not needed as Taeko is such a likable and relatable character that you cannot help, but put yourself in her shoes and the movie is executed so well.
Even though this is a movie from 1991, the Blu-Ray HD transfer that I saw looked great. I think the fact the movie is set in the 80s and has stuff from the 60s in it gives it a kind of “timeless” style. that along with the amazing talent of the Studio Ghibli team prevents it from really aging all that much.
For whatever reason the fact there was not an English dub of this for many years prevented me from watching it. While I had heard the movie was great, I had also heard that the subtitles were kind of hard to follow as they move way too fast. I cannot say for sure if that was true or not, but it certainly put me off watching it for many years and I kind of forgot about it until that Collector’s Edition was announced.
However, for this re-release, they got a fantastic voice cast. Rey Skywalker, Daisey Ridley plays the adult version of Taeko which is awesome. However, two of my all-time favorite voice actors, Laura Bailey and Ashley Eckstein also lend their voices to the movie. I also thought that Dev Patel did a great job as the love interest, Toshiro.
Only Yesterday is a movie that could not be any easier for me to recommend to you guys. If you are going to buy it, get the Collector’s Edition which is an Amazon exclusive, but it is the best way to experience this wonderful and moving movie. Do not read too much about it, just go and watch it, trust me, you will not be disappointed.
- Taeko is one of the best Studio Ghibli lead characters ever
- This is a very relatable movie
- I love the 80s and 60s setting
- The voice cast for the movie is fantastic
- I have heard that the original release subtitles are not the best
- When people read the description of this movie, they may think it sounds kind of boring and give it a miss