Mike’s review published on Letterboxd:
"I can't see what's behind, only what's in front. So I can only know half of the truth, right?"
Eloquence, pure eloquence. It's not just coincidence from which Yi Yi gains it's title. The back and forth between character dynamics and the relationship between them flows like a dance. The slow build feels like that of a waltz, taking it's time to develop itself. Take the character's into consideration when thinking of this, their names don't feel like names and more metaphorical representation of flow and song. We have Da-Da the work colleague of the father. Min-Min the wife and mother of the story. We have Ting-Ting and Yang-Yang the son and daughter of this film, among many others. What do you get when you chronologically place this in order? Am I just reaching with this? Probably. Although I doubt it. A film this meticulously crafted never misses a step, everything has meaning.
Every performance throughout is phenomenal including that of 10 year old (at the time of filming), Jonathan Chang. He brings an emotional gravitas that I never could have expected form someone of that age. Thus allowing us to connect with Yang-Yang and to sympathize. This is mostly evident in his monologue to his grandmother at the end of the film. It's not just with him though, he was just one I was most impressed with. You never feel that you are listening to dialogue written for a screen, it feels like you're eavesdropping on personal conversations form a distance, it feels like you are a part of something natural. That is the biggest credit I can give to Edward Yang. It seems to be something that he excels in. For more evidence of this just check out his four hour epic A Brighter Summer Day. The score and cinematography work together in contrast with the ideas set on screen and the metaphor of song and dance and it's truly breathtaking.
Btw, the poster of this film is perfection and completely reflects its ideas, purpose, and also the quote you see at the top of this write-up, just in case you were wondering.