Justin Aylward’s review published on Letterboxd:
Yi Yi doesn't quite resemble true-to-life family travails as much as it would like, but it still manages to produce the kind of emotions that ring true in you. The film does what some of the very best family dramas do; they highlight the way in which people try to break free from the shackles of the family only to step into new trappings of their own making.
Also, everyone has quirks, ticks which we would like to disguise from others, and Yi Yi and director, Yang, loves to show the characters in their unique and peculiar ways.
It reminded me of the films of Kaurismaki and Patrice Leconte, in that they show what many would call 'quirky' characters, but characters who are so fully realised and authentic that they make you smile, and you might even see some of yourself in them.
We all think we have understood profound truths through our experiences and Yi Yi shows its characters as they have those pangs. It walks the close line between soap opera and compelling family drama, but works more as the latter since the camera barely moves throughout. Yang, perhaps borrowing from Ozu, sets the camera apart from the action so things unfold in a more naturalistic fashion. And any one of these images could stand up as beautiful and eye-catching. And little Jonathan Chang gives one the best performances from a child in a film I've ever seen. Try not to smile when he's on screen