A Simple Life (2011)

ANN HUI

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BBBB

Original title:  Tou ze

Hong Kong, 2011, , .  Story by , Screenplay by , Yan-Lam Lee.  Cinematography by .  Produced by , Ann Hui, Yan-Lam Lee.  Music by .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by , .  Toronto International Film Festival 2011.

Ah Tao () has worked as a maid for four generations of one family and is now aging and tired, still looking after filmmaker Roger () while he worries about her health.  When she suffers a stroke, he makes her face the fact that she must retire, taking it upon himself to choose the nursing home that she will go live in.  Roger visits as often as he can while Ah Tao experiences the stories and situations of the people around her, keeping up her spirits as best as possible but forced to face the inevitable decay that awaits.  This heartfelt, touching drama unites two stars who are actually godmother and godson in real life, their rapport delicately beautiful in underplayed sequences (he takes her to a film premiere and she is proud of his accomplishment in such lovely, muted terms).  Ann Hui directs with an even and never melodramatic hand, while the exceptional performances make for a very worthwhile experience.

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