Monday, March 05, 2012

A Simple Life (桃姐 / Tao Jie)

Growing Old Together

Mention Andy Lau and Deanne Yip in a single breath, and memories of old Hong Kong classics such as The Truth and The Unwritten Law come to mind. Their most recent collaboration under Ann Hui's direction has brought about plenty of accolades, especially with Deanne's portrayal as the titular ma-jie who had served 4 generations of a family, and is now taking care of Andy Lau's Roger, a movie producer. But tables will be turned in A Simple Life where this one-directional care as seen early in the film, will reflect about the issues and challenges that face an aging population, as well as that from the care-giver.

And their sensitive portrayals make A Simple Life worth watching especially with loved ones, with identifiable themes and scenes bringing out a reflection that anyone in their respective shoes or sides would probably encounter - the elderly anticipating the inevitable, and the young balancing work and life while trying to provide for the best quality of life in the twilight years of a loved one, for someone who has seen to the needs and well-being of oneself. It's played out very simply despite an ensemble support cast made up of recognizable cameos from the film industry, undoubtedly lifting the sombre mood and to provide for slight referential comedy.

Lau and Yip share wonderful chemistry together, bringing to life their characters in extremely simple terms without unnecessary flash or flamboyance, relying on little gestures to tell of the immense respect and love each has for the other. The story also works remarkably despite having to branch off into the respective lives of the characters, one living in an old folks' home while the other constantly on the road for his movie career, and like in life, time is always reserved for loved ones, no matter how long or how short, so long as the time spent together is of quality. This is where this naturalness in its narrative stood out, where it doesn't have to tell all, and afforded varying durations to come in between scenes, at times days, sometimes weeks.

A simple film told in a straight-forward fashion can possess plenty of emotional undercurrents with the right cast, direction and a solid story to boot. A Simple Life definitely showed how there is so much beauty in simplicity.

You can read my review of A Simple Life at by clicking on the logo below.


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