Yi Yi


Yi Yi

Critics 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.



Total Count: 83


Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,615
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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.


Nien-Jen Wu
as NJ Jian
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
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Critic Reviews for Yi Yi

All Critics (83) | 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.

    Mar 31, 2008 | Full Review…

    David Ansen

    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.

    Apr 26, 2001
  • Intricately nuanced, lovingly crafted ... and decidedly wry in tone.

    Apr 16, 2001 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

    David Wood

    Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Yi Yi

  • Jan 17, 2013
    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 B Super Reviewer
  • Nov 25, 2011
    Tremendous collage of wonderful personifications of urban modernity. Yang keeps escalating social stratums and reaches the peak of a cinematic god, reading every thought, predicting every sequence, understanding every line and what it implicates in the mind of the person, joining the events into meaningful fragments of a whole cycle of life. *Applause.* 97/100
    Edgar C Super Reviewer
  • Aug 17, 2011
    One of the few films that I can think of other than Robert Bresson's "Au Hasard Balthazar" or Vittorio De Sica's neo-realist masterpiece "The Bicycle Thief" that truly encapsulates the human experience. Isn't that the over all goal of cinema, anyways?
    Alex H Super Reviewer
  • Apr 30, 2011
    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 X Super Reviewer

Yi Yi Quotes

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