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Review: A Simple Life

Ann Hui's aptly titled film
By PETER KEOUGH  |  April 18, 2012
3.5 3.5 Stars

The most sensitive and heartbreaking depiction of old age since Korean director Lee Chang-dong's Poetry, Hong Kong filmmaker Ann Hui's aptly titled account of the slow decline of a beloved housekeeper doesn't involve violent crime like Lee's film, but does recreate the evanescence of everyday life with equal evocativeness. Ah Tao (Deannie Yip, Best Actress award winner at the Venice Film Festival) has served the Leung family for 60 years, so when she suffers a stroke, family member Roger (Andy Lau) takes it upon himself to care for her, setting her up in a rest home and, despite his busy schedule as a film producer, frequently visiting her. He probably gets as much out of this as she does, for with her he recalls his memories of childhood, and Ah Tao glows with a girlish spark even as age and illness break her down. Hui depicts the passage of time and the poignancies of the past with subtle, elliptical episodes, and the film draws on deep emotions without succumbing to sentimentality.

  Topics: Reviews , Movie Reviews, film, Chinese,  More more >
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