Mark Finnegan’s review published on Letterboxd:
I was debating on whether I would give this film four and a half or five stars and then the final scene happened.
This movie is immense. I am not calling it immense because of its three hour runtime, but because I cannot remember the last time I saw a movie that showed such a brutally real depiction of life. It floored me.
This movie explores the most intimate details of family and personal life. It is a movie about what is seen through doorframes of a home, from the window of an apartment, from the end of a hallway. It is about what is heard behind closed shutters, and around corners. Wei-han Yang's framing is sublime, every single shot expertly employed.
The cast are all magnificent, from then eight-year-old Jonathan Chang as Yang-Yang to Wu Nien-jen as NJ, who is absolutely outstanding in this movie. Truly one of the best depictions of male adulthood that I have ever seen as he depicts a man going through a mid-life crisis, torn between familial duties and a past love that comes back to haunt him. Issey Ogata is also mesmerising in every single scene that he appears in.
I did not know what to expect, going into this movie. My experience of Asian movies up until now had been the two Raid movies, which I rate so highly, but Yi Yi was another beast altogether. I loved it.