Kenny’s review published on Letterboxd:
Yang has constructed one of the most delightful and delicate films about a family one could ever watch. Push it too hard and it will all fall apart. Just like with A Brighter Summer Day, Yi Yi has been put together carefully and with such precision that anybody can easily recognize that Yang has a god-given talent for giving scrupulous attention to the smallest of details to organically generate a simple-on-the-outside, complex-on-the-inside milieu that is beyond riveting.
What I noticed, as it was nearing it's inevitable end, is that a lot of the film revolves around love. Love being a motivation, a goal, and a reason as to why the characters act the way they do. Yang is saying that love is just one of of the various incentives that fuels our lives every single day, but most of the time, we don't even realize it. The whole film itself is kind of a metaphor for life. It starts with a wedding, an event that is usually classified as a celebration of life, a beginning of something new. Life is really just beginning for this couple. Then, it ends on a somber-filled note: a funeral.
Their life has ended and they have passed away.
What Yang is saying there with the start and closing of Yi Yi is that life is essentially a cycle of events that never really ends and keeps going and going and we can asks the big questions all we want, but we will never really get concrete answers. Along the way, there will be friendships, oppositions, heartbreaks, joys, conflicts, resolutions, and I love the way Yang portrays these, especially the tender friendship of Ota and NJ.
I'm incredibly glad I chose this film to be my 300th feature-length feature watched this year and Yang is officially up there as one of my favorite directors, even though I've only watched two of his films so far.