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

Contactmusic 2017 Exclusive

New Movies

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

Beauty And The Beast Movie Review

This remake of Disney's 1991 classic is remarkably faithful, using present-day digital animation effects to...

The Salesman Movie Review

The Salesman Movie Review

Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi won his second Oscar with this astute drama which, like 2011's...

Get Out Movie Review

Get Out Movie Review

Leave it to a comedian to make one of the scariest movies in recent memory....

Personal Shopper Movie Review

Personal Shopper Movie Review

After winning a series of major awards for her role in Olivier Assayas' Clouds of...

Certain Women Movie Review

Certain Women Movie Review

In films like Wendy and Lucy and Meek's Cutoff, writer-director Kelly Reichardt has told sharply...

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

Kong: Skull Island Movie Review

After the success of 2014's Godzilla reboot, the Warner Bros monsters get their own franchise,...

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Viceroy's House Movie Review

Filmmaker Gurinder Chada (Bend It Like Beckham) draws on her own family history to explore...

Advertisement
Trespass Against Us Movie Review

Trespass Against Us Movie Review

With an extra dose of attitude and energy, this Irish comedy-drama hits us like a...

Logan Movie Review

Logan Movie Review

Hugh Jackman returns to his signature role one last time (so he says), reuniting with...

Patriots Day Movie Review

Patriots Day Movie Review

The third time's a charm for Mark Wahlberg and director Peter Berg, who previously teamed...

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

A Cure for Wellness Movie Review

It's no surprise that this creep-out horror thriller is packed with whizzy visual invention, since...

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

It's Only the End of the World Movie Review

At just 27 years old, Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan has an almost overwhelming set of...

Hidden Figures Movie Review

Hidden Figures Movie Review

This film recounts such a great true story that we don't mind the fact that...

The Founder Movie Review

The Founder Movie Review

This is the story of Ray Kroc, the man who created the concept of McDonald's....

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.