When his elderly maid Ah Tao (Deanie Ip) is left incapacitated by a stroke, her workaholic master Roger (Andy Lau) finds himself torn between the demands of his job and the needs of his loyal servant.
New wave veteran Ann Hui renowned for her reflective, socially aware character studies. Here, she tackles the issues facing Asia’s ageing population with grace, dry wit and a Venice-winning turn from Deanie Ip. A Simple Life is about the role-reversal between a young master (Andy Lau) and his family maid (Ip) after a stroke puts her in a nursing home. Slowly, the boundaries of age and class fade, and the two develop a quiet, loving bond. It’s not for the impatient; its rewards are in its drifting, everyday nuances, presented without slipping into treacly sentiment. The running time is generous, but Ip’s performance is worth every minute.
Director Hui shows a different side to Hong Kong cinema in a tender drama that's illuminated by the marvellous Ip.
Reviewed by Simon Crook