Tom Morton’s review published on Letterboxd:
30 Countries in 30 Days #13: Taiwan
I've been sort of "reluctantly looking forward" to Yi Yi. It's a film with a grand reputation, one of the highest-rated films on Letterboxd that I hadn't seen in fact, but it's also a three-hour, low key family drama. I'm happy to admit that my taste in film leans towards escapism, and I generally prefer fantasy over realism, and while I can usually appreciate a well made drama of this kind, I quite often struggle to really lose myself in them, and sometimes that leads to disappointment.
Yi Yi certainly didn't win me over completely, but I was pleased to find enough moments of beauty and wonder in it to mean that it was an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon. My favourite moments saw NJ, father of the family, reconnecting with a lost love during a business trip to Tokyo. Their wandering conversation was cut together with a first date between his daughter Ting-Ting and a boy inappropriately named 'Fatty' as they went to the cinema and discussed the film over a meal afterwards. This segment of the film made me think of both In The Mood For Love and the Before trilogy, cleverly showing the parallels in the two relationships as well as the differences.
Most of all though I liked the conversation that the young people had about the film they had seen, which cleverly pre-empted my review for this film; she says it was too real, too sad, too much like her own life. He argued that seeing reality in movies is a magical thing that helps us live out experiences we might not otherwise get the chance to. While I'm siding with Ting-Ting on this one, the conversation definitely made me think a little more about my thoughts for the genre and also made me smile.