Simple story proves less is more

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 18 March, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 18 March, 2012, 12:00am

Ah Tao (Deanie Ip Tak-han) has been a live-in maid with the Leung family for 60 years. She cooks, cleans and tends to the flat of Roger (Andy Lau Tak-wah, pictured, with Ip), the lone family member still residing in Hong Kong. At first it seems the pair primarily have a master-servant relationship, where verbal exchanges are kept to a minimum. But Ann Hui On-wah's A Simple Life develops to show their relationship is more akin to mother-son.

However, one day Ah Tao (who Roger calls amah, or grandmother) suffers a stroke and decides to resign. She asks to be placed in a nursing home, which Roger arranges, footing the bill and visiting whenever his job as a producer allows. The whole Leung family, including the mother (Wang Fuli), visit her, too. (And we see a stark contrast in the physical health of the two, despite their same age.)

The dynamics of the master-servant relationship has now been reversed: as a combination of filial duty, repayment of gratitude and familial bond, Roger now tends to his amah - and he does it without second guessing himself.

A Simple Life thrives on simplicity of character, story and storytelling (emotions are not, though). The inevitable death-bed scene is not drawn out for tear-jerk reaction: there's no long, tearful exchange between Roger and his amah. Nor are there speeches about living life to the full. It's no-nonsense and to the point; what's not present reveals so much more.


Send to a friend

To forward this article using your default email client (e.g. Outlook), click here.

Simple story proves less is more

Enter multiple addresses separated by commas(,)

This question is for testing whether or not you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.