A Simple Life

Ann Hui‘s 2011 A Simple Life (Tao Jie) affectionately portrays a young man’s decision to take care of his family’s health-impaired nanny. Hui’s film took home the Best Actress Award at Venice for Deanie Ip’s performance. Synopsis can be read as follows (via TIFF):

“Reuniting superstar Andy Lau with his godmother Deanie Ip on the big screen for the first time in 23 years, A Simple Life is a deeply moving story about the relationship between a young man and a family servant that is handled with exquisite affection and grace by Ann Hui.

Based on a true story, the film centres on Ah Tao (Ip), an amah (servant and nanny) who has worked for the Leung family for four generations. She lives with and takes care of Roger (Lau), a film producer who is the only member of the Leung household still living in Hong Kong. Roger returns home one day and finds Ah Tao unconscious after a stroke. Convinced she has becoming a burden, Tao resigns and moves into a retirement home. But upon her arrival, she continues to be taken care of by Roger, who realizes just how important she is to him. He decides to do his best to watch after the person who has nurtured him all his life. But Ah Tao’s health is fast deteriorating.

Hui has always excelled when telling stories of everyday life. In A Simple Life, she delivers a rich and heartwarming drama that not only deals with the many abandoned old people in Hong Kong, but also exquisitely captures the unique relationship between the amah and the family for which she cares. In an age when loyalty between employers and employees is fast disappearing, A Simple Life highlights a culture that has almost ceased to exist in Hong Kong: one in which a person devotes their life to serving a family, and in return is cherished as much as any other relative.

Delivering what may be the best performances of their careers, Lau and Ip display perfect chemistry and restraint as two people who have known each other all their lives. Affecting but never sentimental, A Simple Life is undoubtedly one of Hui’s best films to date.”

The trailer can be streamed down at the bottom of the page:

A Simple Life (Tao Jie)