HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
 
Newest Reviews
Sound of Metal
Things of Life, The
Auschwitz Escape, The
Jungle Fever
Great White
Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The
Raya and the Last Dragon
Letter from Paris
Behind the Mask
Lucky
Matrix, The
Undergods
Betrayed
Fried Barry
Once Upon a River
Cowboys
Atlantis
We Still Say Grace
Enfant Terrible
Nomadland
Playboy of the Western World, The
Bike Thief, The
Threshold
Virtuoso, The
Here are the Young Men
Beast Beast
Labyrinth of Cinema
Justice Society: World War II
Artist's Wife, The
Truman & Tennessee: An Intimate Conversation
Pusher III
Palm Springs
Devil Commands, The
Oak Room, The
Pusher II
Forget Everything and Run
Secrets & Lies
Red Moon Tide
Man with Nine Lives, The
Pusher
   
 
Newest Articles
A Lot of Growing Up to Do: Fast Times at Ridgemont High on Blu-ray
Oh My Godard: Masculin Feminin on Blu-ray
Let Us Play: Play for Today Volume 2 on Blu-ray
Before The Matrix, There was Johnny Mnemonic: on Digital
More Than Mad Science: Karloff at Columbia on Blu-ray
Indian Summer: The Darjeeling Limited on Blu-ray
3 from 1950s Hollyweird: Dr. T, Mankind and Plan 9
Meiko Kaji's Girl Gangs: Stray Cat Rock on Arrow
Having a Wild Weekend: Catch Us If You Can on Blu-ray
The Drifters: Star Lucie Bourdeu Interview
Meiko Kaji Behind Bars: Female Prisoner Scorpion on Arrow
The Horror of the Soviets: Viy on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Tarka the Otter and The Belstone Fox
Network Double Bills: All Night Long and Ballad in Blue
Chew Him Up and Spit Him Out: Romeo is Bleeding on Blu-ray
British Body Snatchers: They Came from Beyond Space on Blu-ray
Bzzzt: Pulse on Blu-ray
The Tombs Will Be Their Cities: Demons and Demons 2 on Arrow
Somebody Killed Her Husband: Charade on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Maroc 7 and Invasion
Network Double Bills: The Best of Benny Hill and The Likely Lads
Network Double Bills: Some Girls Do and Deadlier Than the Male
Absolutely Bananas: Link on Blu-ray
Network Double Bills: Hawk the Slayer and The Medusa Touch
The Price of Plague: The Masque of the Red Death on Blu-ray
   
 
  Simple Life, A Fading with grace
Year: 2012
Director: Ann Hui
Stars: Andy Lau, Deannie Yip, Qin Hai-Lu, Wang Fu-Li, Paul Chun Pui, Leung Tin, Hui Siu-Ying, Hui Pik-Kei, Kong Mei-Yee, Yu Man-Si, Jason Chan, Anthony Wong, Tsui Hark, Sammo Hung
Genre: DramaBuy from Amazon
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: Film producer Roger Lee (Andy Lau) lives with his elderly housemaid Ah Tao (Deannie Yip) who practically raised him since childhood. One day Ah Tao suffers a stroke. Rather than burden her master, she asks to be placed in a care home where life alongside other ailing elderly residents grows increasingly melancholy and monotonous while Roger is away with his film career. But as Roger grows to realise how much Ah Tao means to him, there is a subtle shift in their relationship as he endeavours to ensure she lives out her twilight years as contentedly as possible. As Ah Tao’s health worsens, Roger must make a difficult choice.

Based on the true-life experience of producer/co-scriptwriter Roger Lee, A Simple Life is another deceptively genteel, contemplative drama from eclectic Hong Kong New Wave auteur Ann Hui. From her early breakout films - giallo-esque thriller The Secret (1979) and zany ghost comedy The Spooky Bunch (1980) - Hui has been impossible to pigeonhole, shifting from social interest dramas like The Boat People (1981) to period kung fu epic Romance of Book and Sword (1984), offbeat thrillers Zodiac Killers (1991) and Visible Secret (2001) and most importantly tranquil, subtly affecting dramas like the award-winning Summer Snow (1995) while her enduring screen partnership with Chow Yun-Fat is arguably as important as his work with John Woo and Ringo Lam.

Although A Simple Life boasts a scenario as ripe for the milking of hot salty tears as any disease-of-the-week made for-TV movie, Hui’s unobtrusive, observational style quashes any potential outbreak of saccharine sentimentality. Characters endure tragic events with a stoic, almost introverted reserve that coupled with the stark white visuals conveys an unusually austere tone, though offset by lively characterisations. It is not a film where characters rail against the dying of the light but instead accept the inevitable with grace and gentle humour.

The film does address the important issue of health care for the elderly in Hong Kong and broaches satire when Roger discovers the care home is run by an older triad shyster friend of his played by Anthony Wong, in a typically eccentric performance. Coldly efficient care workers hustle the old folks about like the living dead, celebrities visit on Chinese New Year handing out fake gifts for a TV special, but the tone is one of bemusement rather than outrage. The staff are not portrayed as villains, simply flawed human beings grinding their way through a difficult job. Nevertheless, scenes in the old folks home have a haunting quality, not least because many of the residents are played by a host of familiar character actors. For long-time Hong Kong film fans it is like watching old friends slowly fade into obscurity, an almost unbearably melancholic experience that is wholly apt. Among the film’s additional delights are gregarious supporting performances from the likes of Tsui Hark, Sammo Hung and Chapman To appearing as themselves while there are further cameos from such leading industry lights as Raymond Chow, AngelaBaby, Stanley Kwan, Andrew Lau, and others.

Languid pacing reveals the occasional crack in the episodic narrative and a running gag where Roger is repeatedly mistaken for a repairman or taxi driver falls flat, but the film remains deeply moving thanks in large part to the beautifully etched performances delivered by multi-award-winning actress-singer Deannie Yip and risk-taking superstar Andy Lau. Though there is undeniable affection between the two, Roger deals with Ah Tao’s deteriorating condition with a certain pragmatic resignation that proves unsettling in the context of a movie but otherwise underlines a commendable dedication to naturalism.

Reviewer: Andrew Pragasam

 

This review has been viewed 1888 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star probably has psychic powers?
Laurence Fishburne
Nicolas Cage
Anya Taylor-Joy
Patrick Stewart
Sissy Spacek
Michelle Yeoh
Aubrey Plaza
Tom Cruise
Beatrice Dalle
Michael Ironside
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Desbris M
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
Enoch Sneed
  Paul Tuersley
  Chris Garbutt
  Sdfadf Rtfgsdf
   

 

Last Updated: