A Simple Life

  • PG
  • Ann Hui (2011)
  • HK (SUB)
  • 113 min
Film Review
Reviewed By
4 out of 5

Winning armfuls of awards in its native Hong Kong, director Ann Hui's touching, unsentimental portrait of old age owes its fanfare to an unforgettable central performance by veteran singer and supporting actress Deannie Ip. With naturalism and dignity, she plays the devoted servant of a large family who retires after suffering a stroke. Andy Lau's jet-setting film-producer son places her in a nursing home, and repays her devotion with regular visits. Though overlong for such a simple story, the clichés of the "old people's home" narrative are deftly avoided: neither spartan conditions, ancient inmates nor forced institutional jollity are milked for pathos, and a dose of humour sugars the pill of encroaching melancholy. The unforced, gradually evolving warmth between Lau and Ip foregrounds a slice of Hong Kong life where the harbourside New Year fireworks exist only on a battered TV screen in the lobby.

Cast and crew


Ann Hui

Other Information

Cantonese, English, Manadarin +subtitles
Theatrical distributor: 
Distribution Workshop
Available on DVD and BluRay
Released 3 Aug 2012
Certificate PG
Arrow Films