Each member of a family in Taipei asks hard questions about life's meaning as they live through everyday quandaries. NJ is morose: his brother owes him money, his mother is in a coma, his ... See full summary »
This story takes place in a small town on the Hungarian Plain. In a provincial town, which is surrounded with nothing else but frost. It is bitterly cold weather - without snow. Even in ... See full summary »
Lung, a former member of the national Little League team and now operator of an old-style fabric business, is never able to shake a longing for his past glory. One day, he runs into a forme... See full summary »
Each member of a family in Taipei asks hard questions about life's meaning as they live through everyday quandaries. NJ is morose: his brother owes him money, his mother is in a coma, his wife suffers a spiritual crisis when she finds her life a blank, his business partners make bad decisions against his advice, and he reconnects with his first love 30 years after he dumped her. His teenage daughter Ting-Ting watches emotions roil in their neighbors' flat and is experiencing the first stirrings of love. His 8-year-old son Yang-Yang is laconic like his dad and pursues truth with the help of a camera. "Why is the world so different from what we think it is?" asks Ting-Ting. Written by
Films like American Beauty give rise to a huge amount of hype, they are hailed as being intelligent and having things to say. The reason that they stand out so much is that in the multiplexes in which they are shown, the cause of their difference to the family comedies and juvenile violence, is by actually having something called 'Character Development'.
This would appear to be a foreign issue to the majority of film makes. But luckily for some cinema goers, it is not a foreign area for people like Edward Yang. 'Yi Yi' is an exquisite observation of a family in which all the ages are represented at varying stages of life. From the father struggling to retain his sense of thinking that work is still important, his wife struggling with the illness of her mother. And his children learning in their own ways about what life has to offer, both of which like everyone else in the film are superbly acted.
Life rolls through every one of these characters and the annoying stereotypes that to a certain extent ruined American Beauty, for me anyway, are not here. Every character is superbly drawn and fantastically beautiful. For some people no doubt this film would be hell. Three hours of dialogue and a story which purports to show nothing more than life being lived. It is a great example of the art of writing however, that the characters remain with us long after the film has finished.
Although the entire cast was terrific one performance, for me, rose above the norm. It was Issey Ogata in the role of the cutting edge games designer Ota. His speech of our fear of newness when surely every day is unique really did take my breath away. It is a superbly shot film but the editing is excellent. So many times there were cross-fertilisation of ideas and story strands. When we could see the same relationship being played out in three very different stages amongst the members of the same family.
People may complain that maybe not a lot happens, that people don't really go anywhere and nothing is resolved. To me, however, this is a slice of life. Of all of our lives as we try to make sense not only of those around us but of ourselves. The closest recent film that i have seen to this is 'Magnolia' and while i would certainly recommend that whole-heartedly, there have been very few films that i have felt so accurately portrayed people as being people as 'Yi Yi'.
This is a film that reminds me of how good films can be. It also reminds me of how lucky I am to be able to enjoy and appreciate being moved by three hours of skill and effort. Simply breathtaking.
31 of 41 people found this review helpful.
Was this review helpful to you?