Master Taiwanese filmmaker Edward Yang directs this intelligent family drama about the regrets and malaise of middle age, which recalls his 1991 masterpiece A Brighter Summer Day both in scope and in depth of observation. The film focuses… More Master Taiwanese filmmaker Edward Yang directs this intelligent family drama about the regrets and malaise of middle age, which recalls his 1991 masterpiece A Brighter Summer Day both in scope and in depth of observation. The film focuses on N.J. (Wu Nien-jen, a noted writer-director in his own right) a partner in a computer firm who is married to Min-min (Elaine Jin) and has two kids, teenager Ting-ting (Kelly Lee) and young Yang-yang (Jonathan Chang). His company, though successful, demands constant innovation to stay afloat, which includes collaborating with renowned Japanese games designer Ota (Issey Ogata). The liaison work is assigned to N.J. in spite of the fact that work is the last thing on his mind. When Min-min's mother (Tang Ru-yun) suddenly falls into a coma, N.J., Min-min, and others in the family are forced to reevaluate their lives. Min-min visits a fortune teller, while N.J. is thrown into a further emotional tailspin when he runs into his first love, Sherry (Ko Su-yun), who is happily married to a rich Chinese-American. Meanwhile, Min-min's ne'er-do-well brother marries the pregnant Hsiao Yen (Hsiao Shu-shen) over the objections of his acerbic ex-girlfriend Yun-Yun (Tseng Hsin-yi) while Ting-ting starts going out with Fatty (Yu-pang Chang), the boyfriend of her high-strung best friend Li-li (Adrian Lin). The film comes to an emotional head when N.J. goes to Japan to seal a deal with Ota, while both business and family matters completely fall apart in Taiwan. This film was awarded the prestigious Golden Palm for best direction at the 2000 Cannes Film Festival.
Consensus: In its depiction of one family, Yi Yi accurately and expertly captures the themes and details, as well as the beauty, of everyday life.