Yi Yi ★★★★½

Beginning with a wedding and ending with a funeral, Yi Yi achieves a quiet intimacy as it follows individual members of a family over the course of its near three-hour running-time.

I think one of the reasons this film feels so candid is because of the unrestricted access we are given. The camera transports us around Taipei as the characters roam about: the mother's workplace, the father's workplace, Yang-Yang's school, the neighbor's apartment...always showing, never telling. And somehow there is never a dull moment, it all feels so honest and effortless. The intrigue of looking into the lives of others is definitely there, carrying the film.

I was surprised and appreciative of the father's realization toward the end of the film. Having been given the chance to revisit a choice that has always haunted him, he slowly remembers the reasons behind his behavior, and realizes, even now, that he would have made that same choice again. The yearning we feel for do-overs and alternative paths is often terribly real, but too often in film this is addressed in a self-indulgent and irresponsible way.

In my experience, the less satisfying conclusion is often the more honest one; that at that moment in time there was only one choice we could have possibly made, and that our past selves generally had more sense than we give them credit for.

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