Yi Yi ★★★★★

This review may contain spoilers. I can handle the truth.

This review may contain spoilers.

Life is short, and it often feels meaningless. We have both our own expectations and the expectations others put on us, and we often spend most of our energy trying to fulfill them. We have people we care for, people that drift apart, broken families, etc. It can feel like a brutal, relentless cycle. In the end, it can feel as if nothing's changed. This film reflects on all of that and more, weaving what feels like a complex narrative of a myriad of different lives. Out of all the existential and philosophical comments in this movie, I feel Yang-Yang's idea of showing others what they can't see about themselves was the most powerful. As an outside observer, it's easy to point out flaws and notice shortcomings in these characters or even people in our own lives. Yet there is so much we don't fully realize about our own selves that may be equally obvious to someone else. That's why helping each other see these things is so important. We'll never fully understand ourselves or others but we can all help each other understand as much as possible.

The camera angles and wide shots are a brilliant catalyst for this. The dialogue may be focused on just two characters but the camera allows the viewer to get a fuller picture of the setting. Shots of two characters talking inside a building while the viewer observes from the outside are excellent examples of this. I also appreciated the long, drawn-out scenes where characters seemed like they had so much to say to each other, yet they both kept their silence. All in all, this film offers a beautiful portrayal of life and begs for self-reflection both while watching it and long after the credits roll.

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