a simple life
a simple life

A Simple Life

4/5 stars
Film review by Alan Bett.
Published 30 October 2012

In perhaps the ultimate example of method acting, Andy Lau has spent his life as godson to Deanie Ip before playing opposite her in a dramatic role that mirrors that real relationship. Ah Tao (Ip) is the nanny who has been with the family since youngest son, Roger (Lau), can remember, assimilating the nurturing role of mother in place of his own distanced blood. When she has a stroke the roles cruelly reverse and the weight of dependence shifts. Veteran Director Ann Hui paints in delicate strokes, but while this may seem soft he is playing with powerful emotions. There are some delightful silences, raised eyebrows; comfortable gestures of those who have known each other all their life. Lau takes a restrained backseat in what is basically a Rainman dynamic, yet Ip plays it far more subtly than Hoffman and rightfully won Best Actress at Venice. There’s no more original way to say it; she simply sparkles. [Alan Bett]