Edgarlvrado’s review published on Letterboxd:
Yi Yi is what most people with patience, attention to detail and a sense of aesthetics would call a masterpiece of filmmaking and even then, it´s hard to label this film under just one word.
The narrative not only covers a wide range of characters, it covers a wide range of personalities as well as different parts and aspects in human life, and it does it in such a simplistic yet amazing way that it doesn´t even feel like a movie anymore, it feels like you´re there with each one of said characters, you´re that invisible being next to them, you go through the moments of their lives, from the happiness of getting married, the sadness of not finding joy in what you do , the anger of abandonment, the natural curiosity of a child and the uncertainty of a first love.
Edward Yang not only achieves to perfectly portrait those moments, it manages to make you part of them for almost three hours. It is also remarkable how he manages to support the contemplation of his film through such an exquisite usage of the audiovisual resources he had.
The cinematography gives substance to the plot in a more precise way than most films do, a quick but interesting example of it, is how throught cinematography (as well as editing) the Tokyo scenes overlap those happening in Taipei both mirroring different events that NJ describes as part of his youth while not necessarily happening to the same characters, it does show how well structured the whole production is during the whole movie, Wei-han Yang makes every single shot count and it does it in such an aesthetical way that as I mentioned before, invites the viewer to contemplate and appreciate every single thing that´s happening on screen.
The soundtrack is rather minimalistic but it´s not bad by any means, there are some tributes to classical pieces but it is mostly based on piano, performed and most times even arranged by Kai-Li Peng, said piano pieces go from slow ballads to even jazz (The arrival to Tokyo it´s the clearest example), in my opinion it delivers in a good way and it gives substance to the scenes that benefit from it as well as even playing part in the narrative (NJ and how his music references persons and moments in his life) but even then, most of the movie is silent regarding the usage of the OST, which I think helps to maintain the fidelity of the narrative.
In conclusion, Yi Yi offers an amazing insight into life and its cycles and it manages to do it in a simple way, it never over dramatizes life, Edward Yang portraited it as raw and unique as it is and even supports that vision throught some interesting quotes in the movie, like I said at the beginning, it´s hard to classify such a great movie in just one word, but even then I´d still call it a masterpiece any day.