MayaDeren_fan’s review published on Letterboxd:
A film about connection and generational relations; it takes half of its runtime to actually connect with it, but sure enough the audience is invested.
I wasn't head-over-heels for Yi Yi, as many are, but I can definitely see what draws so many people to it.
The sound design in particular surprised me, amplifying the minutiae of urban life, equal in volume compared to the dialogue. As one does not expect this harmony of sound amplification from the beginning, it does take time to get used to. But after a while it works, immersing the viewer into turn-of-the-century Taipei and the conflict at hand.
And of course the visuals are worthy of note. Edward Yang frequents a mirrored look on the simplicity of character interactions; thus alluding to the fictitious nature of Yi Yi, but also delving into emotional subtext with each reflection through tattered glass. The result is poetry not forced, but contemplated upon through careful framing and composition.
Though both the visuals and sound design are commendable, it really comes down to the story. Yi Yi works, though only through sheer length and patience. As we are thrown into the action right from the get-go, the characters don't have time to mature and provoke investment from the viewer until everything simmers down. By the end everything was on-point, but with a rocky entry I remain optimistic, but not thrilled.
As I missed my opportunity to see A Brighter Summer Day yesterday, probably won't see it for a while, but I have hope in Edward Yang to power through. That is all.