Art versus commerce, friendship versus status, independence versus conformity—values clash and collide in Edward Yang’s study of an increasingly Westernized country heading into the twenty-first century without moral guideposts. Moving from breakout hit A Brighter Summer Day’s investigation of the past to a critical survey of the present, A Confucian Confusion charts the tangled web of emotional and professional manipulations among a group of young urbanites. At its center is Molly (Ni Shu-chun), director of a floundering public-relations firm. Alienated by the childish fiancé (Bosen Wang) who bankrolls her enterprise—and frustrated by the demands of an assistant, Qiqi (Chen Shiang-chyi), and her own fiancé, Ming (Wang Wei-ming)—Molly lashes out at everyone in her path and threatens to dismantle the company altogether. Meanwhile (amid several other subplots), Molly’s talk-show-host sister (Chen Li-mei) attempts to dissuade her separated husband from continuing to write a dark novel about the return of Confucius to a jaded modern society. Injecting comedic elements into his patented brand of earnest soul-searching, Yang finds humor as well as pathos in the desperate behavior of a lost and lonely generation.