NR, 118 min.
Director: Ann Hui
Writers: Susan Chan, Yan-lam Lee
Starring: Deanie Ip, Andy Lau, Hailu Qin, Fuli Wang, Paul Chun, Tin Leung, Wendy Yu, Eman Lam, Elena Kong
The truth is I don’t always love the Ebertfest entries as much as the organizers do. Although, it’s a very rare entry that I don’t like at all. I liked “A Simple Life”, but it seemed to lack that special something that allows me to praise it as a truly great movie. It’s very well made and very well performed. It’s well written and tells a story that I haven’t seen before. Perhaps it does it too well.
It follows the late life of Ah Tao, a servant for over 60 years, who suffers a stroke. After the stroke she announces to her master that she will retire and move to a retirement home. Her master thinks of her as family and helps her in whatever she wishes. He finds her a home and checks in on her whenever he can, which isn’t as often as many might be able to, as he is a very busy filmmaker. The film follows her life in the old folks home, which seems deficient at first, but soon the fringe characters begin to distinguish themselves and present the appeal of such a life.