A Simple Life is not on the same level as Amour. But after Haneke's much more austere, bleak vision of old age, A Simple Life feels like a warm hug. Rather than depicting the horrors of old age, it focuses instead on the potential for joy and friendship at life's end after a dedicated life. Beauty can be found even in the darkest of situations, and Hui's more upbeast, optimistic take on aging is something to be cherished. Like its title suggests, it revels in the simple pleasures of life for a woman who asks for nothing but deserves everything.
|Deanie Yip and Andy Lau in Ann Hui's A SIMPLE LIFE.|
Courtesy of Well Go Entertainment.
A Simple Life is a lovely and tender film, and while its premise is rife with potential for sentimentality it remains remarkably restrained, as unassuming as Ah Tao, avoiding maudlin cliche with a wise and even hand. The lead performances by Deanie Yip and Andy Lau are both terrific, never going for obvious emotions, keeping their feelings close to the chest. Ah Tao and Roger never need to vocalize their feelings for each other - they simply know. By the end, they have not only become each other's closest friend, but each other's closest family, and Roger is the son she never had. Like Amour, it is a film about the people who will be with us when the time comes, but rather than focusing on the pain of love, it focuses on the beauty. The Blu-ray presentation by Well Go Entertainment is bare bones, but really no special features are needed here. The film speaks for itself, and it's one of the most criminally overlooked gems of 2012.
GRADE - ★★★ (out of four)
A SIMPLE LIFE | Directed by Ann Hui | Stars Deanie Yip, Andy Lau | Not rated | In Cantonese w/English subtitles | Now on DVD and Blu-ray from Well Go Entertainment.