Yi Yi (2000) - Rotten Tomatoes

Yi Yi2000

Yi Yi (2000)



Critic 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.

Yi Yi Photos

Movie Info

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.


Jonathan Chang
as Yang-Yang
Elaine Jin
as Min-Min
Ke Suyun
as Sherry
Kelly Lee
as Ting-Ting
Issei Ogata
as Mr. Ota
Xu Shuyuan
as Lili's Mother
Zeng Xinyi
as Yun-Yun
Xiao Sushen
as Xiao Yan
Ru-Yun Tang
as Min-Min's Mother
Wu Jie
as Wu Jie
Shu Guozhi
as Shu Ge
Leon Dai
as Liren
You Meiyun
as NJ's Neighbor
You Qidong
as Xiao Yan's Uncle
Ke Yulun
as Young Soldier
Chen Lihua
as Lili's English Tutor
Yiwen Chen
as Policeman
Song Shaoqing
as Young Banker
Luo Bei-an
as Boss Huang
Antonio Lee Klatt
as Piano Bar Pianist
Danny Deng
as A-Di's Friend
Fan Reijun
as A-Di's Friend
Cheng Jianxiong
as A-Di's Friend
Zhen Yuancheng
as A-Di's Friend
Cai Ruying
as A-Di's Friend
Sun Fajun
as A-Di's Friend
Jay Miao
as A-Di's Friend
Tang Congsheng
as Punk at NY Bagel Cafe
Wang Qizan
as Punk at NY Bagel Cafe
Li Jianchang
as Punk at NY Bagel Cafe
Kenjiro Tsuda
as Robata Restaurant Waiter
Wu Weining
as The `Concubine'
Xu Guiying
as NJ's Secretary
Allen Lu
as Mrs. Jiang's Boyfriend
Yang Shiping
as Grandma's Doctor
Ye Ziyan
as Grandma's Doctor
Jinhua Yang
as Doctor's Wife
Li Wanyun
as Xiao Yan's Assistant
Lin Xiaowei
as Xiao Yan's Assistant
Wu Yi-ting
as The Baby
Xu Wenjuan
as Da-Da's Wife
Wang Zheng-Kai
as Security Guard
Xie Nianzu
as Policeman
Chen Shiqi
as Yang-Yang's Classmate
Xiang Guangting
as Yang-Yang's Classmate
Lin Yanchun
as Yang-Yang's Classmate
View All

Critic Reviews for Yi Yi

All Critics (84) | Top Critics (24)

Yang takes the long view, transforming the ingredients of family melodrama into a serene, generous, comic vision of our tangled urban lives.

March 31, 2008 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Life-affirming in the most genuine, respectful and least mechanical sense.

May 21, 2001

The artistry is undeniable -- tough insights blended with graceful compassion, gloomy certainties flecked with rays of hope.

May 14, 2001 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

A marvel of delicacy and humor.

May 8, 2001 | Rating: 4.5/5

This intimate family portrait peels away layer after layer of unspoken truth and hidden life.

April 26, 2001

Intricately nuanced, lovingly crafted ... and decidedly wry in tone.

April 16, 2001 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Yi Yi

Cute and inspiring without being cloying. It doesn't feel artificial and therefore can serve as an example to Hollywood on how to make a truly moving picture.

John Ballantine
John Ballantine

Super Reviewer

Much much duller than I had anticipated but strangely, thoroughly watchable. Everything hits you later, in your bed, hours after you finish the film. Its premise is extremely simple but it's a very portrait of a family, their neighbors, and their loves.

Jennifer Xu
Jennifer Xu

Super Reviewer

Why are we afraid of the first time? Every day in life is a first time. Every morning is new. We never live the same day twice. We're never afraid of getting up every morning. Why?

I'm still puzzling over the authenticity of this line from Mr. Ota. I'm not altogether sure this movie supports his assertion.

In other words, I'm thinking his statement may be ironic given the way this film goes.

Aside from a kind of surprising murder that I'm also still puzzling over, this is a very gentle and fairly objective examination of the very partially understood nature of the lives we live. The difference between what we can do to direct our lives and the way that our lives become directed by forces outside ourselves and often beyond our control is examined in the lives of many characters in this film. Perhaps even more important is the idea that we cannot understand our lives fully, no matter how hard we may try to do so. The clock is ticking loudly here, and it is impossible to slow down our being swept up in the forward movement of time. For most of us, we do the best we can, with what little time we have, and with what little we know or understand of our lives, and we hope for the best.

Lanning : )
Lanning : )

Super Reviewer

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