Milo Paulus’s review published on Letterboxd:
Edward Yang's heartfelt and engrossing magnum opus Yi Yi is a keenly observed, evocatively shot and scored human portrait about four generations of family that is a celebration of life and love with all of its joys and hardships.
Like with Edward Yang's other masterpiece A Brighter Summer Day, Yi Yi is an equally insightful and perceptive film about ordinary people living ordinary lives. It's a film so grand and beautiful, where every minutely placed detail accumulates into moments of truth and insight until they resonate with importance. There are moments that will leave you speechless with joy and thunderstruck with heartbreak. Every beat, every note, every scene, feels part of a whole. It's an encompassing movie. It's life.
The greatest thing about this film is how it portrays a wide array of different characters with equal respect, authenticity and care. From teen romance, to middle-age longing, to aging deterioration, to childlike innocence; Yi Yi captures anything and everything about their lives with an almost spying but unobtrusive lens creating a truly thoughtful study of humanity. It's a film that's relatable to anyone, of any age. Throughout the film you will unquestionably think one of these things at least once: "I've felt that way . . . I thought that once . . . I had this urge once upon a time". You might be nine years old like the adorable laconic Yang-Yang, you might be a teen like oft-conflicted Min-Min or a middle-aged person longing for a forgotten loved one like N.J. Everything about this film rings true.
In conclusion, Edward Yang's film is an experience as culturally resonating and emotionally observed as anything you're likely to see, or have seen. If you have a warm part in your heart, Yi Yi is going to find it. It's three hours long, but it won't feel like it. Let go of the wheel and let it take control. It is a film of painful revelations and euphoric moments of happiness. It is a film of soft rhythms beautifully gliding over the lives of characters living their way toward personal enlightenment.