Kyle Donovan’s review published on Letterboxd:
Even though I have seen so many astonishing films
this week thanks to Criterion and FilmStruck, I've made sure to keep my critical eye open throughout, always sure that I felt confident in my ratings and what I believed each movie deserved. I'm not here to give perfect scores out to just anything, they are there for the films that mean something to me. Some more than others, but they're all special in their own way.
I preface my review with this because of a reason. Yi Yi reduced me to tears. Cried not for sentimentality, cried for it's truth. Cried because it is the best film I've seen so far in my life. It is the closest representation of the human experience that I have encountered, and that means everything.
Everyday life is filled with moments, most end up with no purpose. Yi Yi is people going through dozens of these moments, most of them are personal, contained. But sometimes they make us break down. We can't explain why, because there is no explanation. Eventually they'll be forgotten about through the tides of time, and there's nothing we can do about it. We always live in the present, the passing memories stay for as long as they can be shared. It only truly means something to us, if nobody at all. I've only seen one other film that somewhat captured this feeling, this soul touching outlook on life, but that isn't earth shattering like Yi Yi is. I could try to describe the emotions, the unfortunate reality of life's lack of meaning, but in all honesty I cannot. It is beyond my ability. We can kid, blind ourselves to this notion with excitement, romance, action, but it's all a distraction from emptiness.
I stated and still think Yasujirō Ozu's Tokyo Story is perhaps the most perfect film I've ever seen. Yi Yi is the most personally affecting. The best.