A Simple Life

"Extraordinary"

A Simple Life Review


Based on a true story, this gently episodic drama beautifully portrays the connection between a man and his long-time family maid. It's funny, involving and so well-observed that it sticks in the mind for a long, long time.

Ah Tao (Yip) has served four generations of the Leung family over 60 years and is a friendly, cheerful fixture in the community. Her only real company is her cat until busy filmmaker Roger (Lau) returns to live in the family's Hong Kong flat. When she suffers a stroke, Tao doesn't want Roger to care for her, so he arranges for her to live in a nursing home and visits her regularly during her recovery. As the years pass, what was once a nanny-child relationship becomes something much more meaningful for both of them.

The film is exceptionally well-shot and edited, with earthy performances that create a relaxed, gently humorous mood. Yip and Lau play this relationship beautifully, with funny, warm banter that reflects years of memories, long-running jokes and even some sharp teasing. Food is a running theme, as Roger should be sticking to a healthier diet, and Tao tries to keep him in line. There are plenty of lively side characters, but they all add to this central relationship.

Meanwhile, the nursing home residents hilariously drive Tao nuts, while also reminding her of her mortality. Most memorable is the flirty Kin (Chiang) who continually asks for hand-outs to spend on hookers, but Tao understands why.

Elsewhere, the film is packed with running gags (everyone mistakes the underdressed Roger for a cabbie or repairman) and subtle character detail, including some lovely moments with Roger's mum (Wang) and a terrific sequence in which Roger takes Tao to a glamorous film premiere.

This is an immaculately observed film about how the relational seeds you sow in youth come back later on. Both Tao and Roger realise their reliance on each other, as if their destinies are intertwined and in balance. Along the way, the filmmakers explore the distance between generations and the importance of family history. And as Tao gets increasingly infirm, Roger's joy in spending time with her is both truthful and deeply moving.



A Simple Life

Facts and Figures

Run time: 118 mins

In Theaters: Friday 9th March 2012

Box Office USA: $0.2M

Distributed by: China Lion Film Distribution

Production compaines: Bona International Film Group, Focus Films, Sil-Metropole Organisation

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%
Fresh: 23 Rotten: 2

IMDB: 7.6 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , Roger Lee

Starring: as Roger, Deanie Ip as Chung Chun-tao / Ah Tao, Wang Fu-Li as Roger's mother, Paul Chun Pui as Uncle Kin, Leung Tin as Head Master, Hui Siu-Ying as Mui Gu, Hui Pik-Kei as Auntie Kam, Elena Kong as Auntie Kam's daughter, Yu Man-Si as Sharon, Jason Chan Chi-San as Jason, as Grasshopper, Chapman To as Dentist, Eman Lam Yi-Man as Carmen, Lam Yee-Lok as Pastor, as Director Tsui, as Director Hung, Qin Hailu as Ms Choi

Also starring: ,

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

Star Wars: The Last Jedi Movie Review

After the thunderous reception for J.J. Abrams' Episode VII: The Force Awakens two years ago,...

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Daddy's Home 2 Movie Review

Like the 2015 original, this comedy plays merrily with cliches to tell a silly story...

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

The Man Who Invented Christmas Movie Review

There's a somewhat contrived jauntiness to this blending of fact and fiction that may leave...

Ferdinand Movie Review

Ferdinand Movie Review

This animated comedy adventure is based on the beloved children's book, which was published in...

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Brigsby Bear Movie Review

Director Dave McCary makes a superb feature debut with this offbeat black comedy, which explores...

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

Battle of the Sexes Movie Review

A dramatisation of the real-life clash between tennis icons Billie Jean King and Bobby Riggs,...

Shot Caller Movie Review

Shot Caller Movie Review

There isn't much subtlety to this prison thriller, but it's edgy enough to hold the...

Advertisement
The Disaster Artist Movie Review

The Disaster Artist Movie Review

A hilariously outrageous story based on real events, this film recounts the making of the...

Stronger Movie Review

Stronger Movie Review

Based on a true story about the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing, this looks like one...

Only the Brave Movie Review

Only the Brave Movie Review

Based on a genuinely moving true story, this film undercuts the realism by pushing its...

Wonder Movie Review

Wonder Movie Review

This film may be based on RJ Palacio's fictional bestseller, but it approaches its story...

Happy End  Movie Review

Happy End Movie Review

Austrian auteur Michael Haneke isn't known for his light touch, but rather for hard-hitting, award-winning...

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Patti Cake$ Movie Review

Seemingly from out of nowhere, this film generates perhaps the biggest smile of any movie...

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

The Limehouse Golem Movie Review

A Victorian thriller with rather heavy echoes of Jack the Ripper, this film struggles to...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.