Yi Yi

2000 [CHINESE]

Action / Drama / Romance

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 97% · 89 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 91% · 5K ratings
IMDb Rating 8.1/10 10 28796 28.8K


Top cast

Kenjirô Tsuda as Robata Restaurant Clerk
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
1.56 GB
Chinese 2.0
Subtitles us  
23.976 fps
2 hr 53 min
Seeds 17
2.89 GB
Chinese 2.0
Subtitles us  
23.976 fps
2 hr 53 min
Seeds 79

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by somehope 9 / 10

Not a "foreign" film; but a universal one

The family may (or may) not speak another language than you do, and they may or may not have a different color skin, but this family is the 21st family complete with the joy of a young child throwing water balloons off of buildings; a loving husband who loves his wife enough not to cheat on her with an old flame, yet wonders what might have been; a wife lost in depression and lack of purpose, a grandmother's death, a wedding, and a mall with a food court with lonely teenagers trying to connect, two of which do, and yet don't.

There is something in this film I can describe only with one word: humanism. No, I can't relate every actors name, but when I saw this film years ago, and I was stressed out, I went to a theater in another to see it, and after the three hours -- which flies by like a summer breeze -- I saw real people both on the screen and in the theater. It's a relaxing, human film, well worth the time to rent or screen for another time.

Sadly, the director of this film left this life too prematurely, but he and everyone associated with this film left us a real family and the joy of being human, despite all our faults, and all of life's cruelties, in a film set in a corporate world with lots of reflecting, cold windows (one of the recurring images of the films) and loneliness, but this world also a real family that has love and hope in it.

Reviewed by secondtake 8 / 10

Such universal human interactions you'll rarely see so honestly...

Yi Yi (2000)

Losing director Edward Lang recently (he died in 2007) was hard on the film world in general, as well as on Chinese language films with an international reach. And "Yi Yi" is a great, offbeat and yet accessible, likable film. What happens is very simple--an extended family is portrayed over several months as they enter relationships and life takes its usual tragic-comic toll. In a way, nothing in particular happens. There is no grand focus to the film in the usual sense (a murder, a love affair, a business deal gone wrong) but instead all of these things happen and overlap.

Some viewers will surely find it too dull and slow to withstand, but most viewers (the majority) once you give it a chance, will find the humanity bracing, the honesty of the acting and the writing (also by Lang) alive and well. It is filmed with straight forward storytelling expertise, but it is paced and edited with a higher order of intelligence. The sequence of disparate events, as young and old people fall in love and have close calls with death, is meshed together with intuitive brilliance.

It might somehow not be a great film. It might lack the larger turning point drama to make it stand out and make a viewer stand up. But it's a quiet, almost magical film with terrific acting. Maybe the largest thing I took away from it is how universal people's activities are. True, this is Taiwan and not mainland China, so things are more Westernized, but we can identify with everything so acutely it's quite amazing. A gem of a film, too long, but still a gem.

Reviewed by DICK STEEL 10 / 10

A Nutshell Review: Yi Yi

I have found another film to put into my all time greatest list, and that is Edward Yang's Yi Yi. After watching all his earlier works, this one marks that epitome of perfection, of a craftsman's finest after honing his skill through time, that most outside of Taiwan will probably remember the great director by, if not for it being easily available on DVD compared to the rest of the early ones. While those are no pushovers themselves, Yi Yi is perhaps something that can be said as complete, covering like most of Edward Yang's films, a spectrum of human emotions, here centered on an upper middle class family and unravelling its close to three hour runtime through three broad narrative threads intertwining together perfectly, with sensitivity, humanity, and poignancy even.

Bookended by a wedding and a funeral, Yi Yi follows a family where each member struggles with their own personal demons, with their respective story arc taking place to address just that, and providing that slice of life from their respective perspectives. There's the father NJ (Wu Nien-Jen) who battles two fronts involving work, where his fellow company directors are seeking a new line of business through a partnership with a famed Japanese game maker but with conflicting business ethics and ideology with himself, and that of his personal life, with his family put on a thin line as he spends considerable time away in Tokyo with his first love Sherry (Ko Su-Yun), reminiscing the good old days with that hint of a temptation whether he's about to throw everything away, for one old flame.

Then there's the budding first brush of love and a love triangle between his daughter Ting Tin (Kelly Lee), and their neighbour Li Li (Adriene Lin) and her boyfriend Fatty (Yu Pang Chang), where complication arise from being best of friends with Li Li, and yet filled with the dilemmas stemming from the indecision of others, offering a good contrast between two teenage girls who deal with their emotions in vastly different manners, leading to a tragic outcome. Then there's the scene stealer with Jonathan Chang's Yang Yang, the youngest son in the family who's having a horrid time in school, being the thorn in the eye of a female prefect hell bent on making his life miserable. His story arc is perhaps one that brings us back to our own childhood, with nary a care in the world, and living life in quite cavalier terms with various shenanigans, some comical of course, and like most children, live in their own world through the picking up of a hobby, and yet having lessons to impart to adults.

There are minor subplots galore in this film, with support characters providing that rich tapestry for Yi Yi, which is also subtitled A One and a Two, strokes in the Chinese language that identical strokes horizontally turns the character One into a Two, sequentially one after another, like a musical beat promising a grand oeuvre to come from Edward Yang the conductor. There's the comatose grandmother whose recuperation of sorts at home brings about some stress to Ting Ting because of her guilt conscious, and that of NJ's wife Min Min (Elaine Jen), who disappears mid way into the film from a depressive breakdown. And Yang Yang's uncle Ah Di (Chen Hsi Sheng) who has to juggle placating his wife Xiao Yan (Xiao Shu Shen) toward the presence of his ex Yun Yun (Zeng Xin Yi) whom he gravitates to given the ups and downs in his financial status.

In some ways Yi Yi is a film that puts the spotlight on the various aspects of romance, about the first love who had proved elusive, of past romances and the examination of What Ifs. There's a scene which was expertly and brilliantly edited and intertwined between NJ's arc and his daughter's relationship, hinting at a possible repeat of events that happened one generation earlier, that really hammered home the eventual outcome from a parallel under very uncanny circumstances. This theme may not be new in Edward's repertoire of films, but the way it was handled here just made it very much heartfelt, inevitably allowing us to pass judgement on the characters involved, though in no ways objectively done.

It's three hours long, but it's the three hours you will not want to end as you get pulled into the family issues, and find yourself engaged on the emotional level and feel that sense of belonging with the central family, brought to life through wonderful performances all round, from the little Jonathan Chang to the veteran Wu Nien-Jen. Edward Yang's voice cannot be more pronounced through each of the characters put into the film, revisiting themes and issues discussed in earlier films, or in this one, I really liked how he crafted Ota (Issei Ogata) the Japanese game maker, with dialogue that really made plenty of sense, dispensing keen observations and life lessons to impart from the filmmaker.

For a film about life and its struggles in general, Yi Yi comes up tops, and I felt it had inspired other similar films that attempted to examine urban family life across a full spectrum of emotions, such as that in Kiyoshi Kurosawa's Tokyo Sonata very recently. Yi Yi is without a doubt one of Edward Yang's greatest and one of my personal favourites to date, and is a film that has to be experienced at least once by any film buff, and be prepared to be emotionally blown away by a filmic masterpiece. A must watch!

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