evilbjork’s review published on Letterboxd:
Yi Yi is just about normal everyday people. People who are full of feelings and desires but are bogged down by day to day life. People overcome with the want to leave everything behind and restart their lives, office workers who never wanted the path they took, students who want love and never get it, people who have artistic dreams and are told that's the wrong way. It's the painful long burn of the existential crisis; regret, remorse, sadness, loneliness, a loss of dignity and integrity, the feeling of being stuck in a place you never wanted to be, the feeling of needing only one hand of someone who cared and never getting it. Yi Yi flows through these emotions and lets them wash over you. The pain is deeply relatable, but amazingly it doesn't feel hopeless, or like the saddest movie experience to have; it feels almost nice to watch a movie that so easily understands emotions I've felt, but haven't been able to describe and that's what makes the portrayal of emotions especially awesome to me.
After talking about how the movie made me feel I can't give enough praise to Edward Yang for his ability to pull it off. The cinematography, shot length, pacing, and amazing attention to detail in character actions bring everything to life. Film is a passive art form, the movie plays whether you're watching or not, but Yang's directing really felt like he was guiding me through it and pulling me to pay attention.
If there's one three hour film to make you finally sit down and pay attention, it's this one.