Yi Yi ★★★★

Mundanity without sentimentality. An achievement in its own right. But is YI YI really about mundanity? Despite telling the story of the separate everyday lives of the members of a family, there is a lot of drama. Murder, suicide attempts, affairs, international travel. YI YI is excellent at making the theatrics of big-movie plotting feel small and intimate. The dialogue is incredible, each character uses a comatose grandmother as a springboard for monologues; their own personal diary. To be critical, Yang occasionally uses his musings on life and existence on characters who feel like they are speaking his voice, rather than their own. Yang Yang's poignant final speech feels more like an adult's thoughts than an introverted childs, for example. But nonetheless, a lot of truths and anxieties about the cyclical nature of life's experiences comes out through exchanges between people and masterful editing that parallel the lives of children and adults as not being very different after all.

The cinematography deserves its own review, filming in a very matter-of-factly way that still captures the texture, grit and sheen of city life. Using a beautiful mixture of close-ups and wides that dwarf characters in intimate moments under highway underpasses as well as a heavy use of reflections in evening windows to see, and not see, what characters are feeling. It's a very beautiful movie.