Marcissus’s review published on Letterboxd:
I do not have a sufficient enough grasp on the human language to articulate just how enamored I am with the opening sequence of this film. And the ending. And the middle? This is hope strewn across the taipei landscape with words and snow and coins and the colour blue. Vicky looks backward towards these things with transient wide eyed wistfulness, feeling their pain and beauty, wallowing in it, the feelings never forgotten and the nights that seemingly last forever. The places are painted with a concoction of blue and pink and green and such iridescence that creates this image of a magical place where time is fluid and everything is tinted with a tinge of promise. There's an indomitable aura of beautiful endless nostalgia, an aura that embraces the pain and the love and the promise and the entropy into the same reverie of humanity, an aura of unmitigated magic. And just like Vicky in the opening sequence, we want to be fooled by it. We watch five coins move from hand to hand being split up by seemingly nothing, eaten up by ghosts, fizzling out into thin air. We watch it but we don't ask how it happened, we just watch, it just happened, to question is to ruin, we just follow with the impulse that everything is beautiful and nothing hurts. This is a film that just evaporates, its luminescence seemingly absorbing space and time and memory, creating one of those beautifully transient cinematic experience that lasts two hours but feels like ten minutes. Hou Hsiao-Hsien's masterpiece. A magnum of opus proportions. A tiny little version of the tallest tree. She never finished school. She made face-prints in the snow. She pretended to be one of them. She ate noodles and watched tv shows. It all meant: come alone.
at times it feels like the film is about nothing, but that's the con, the film is our projections, the world we breathe, our attempted escape from our totality, our failures, our hopes that it won't always be this way. a voice from the future, narrating us, implicating our futures are good ones, it is pretty to think so. the ripple moves on, out of frame, undulating towards the edge, wherever that is