At a wedding banquet for his brother-in-law, struggling Taiwanese businessman N.J. Jian (Wu) finds himself questioning his entire path in life after he bumps into an old flame. Meanwhile, his business venture is falling to pieces and his wife, Min-Min (Jin), experiences a spiritual crisis when her mother unexpectedly slips into a coma. Even their children, Ting Ting and Yang Yang, cope with inner torments, all of which threaten to destabilize this Taipei family's veneer of middle-class respectability.
The so-called midlife crisis is hardly just an American phenomenon, and Yang's absorbing ensemble drama sensitively depicts a modern Eastern variant on this affliction with nuanced performances and remarkable attention to psychological detail. Mirroring Taiwan's own instability in the late '90s, "Yi Yi" depicts an ordinary family going through troubling and possibly shattering changes. Touching and funny in equal measure, "Yi Yi" has a subtle, arresting rhythm that sneaks up on you quietly, just like real life.