A Simple Life (2012) - Rotten Tomatoes

A Simple Life (2012)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

Since her teenage years, Chung Chun-Tao has worked as an amah - a servant - for the Leung family. Known as Ah Tao, she witnessed every aspect of the family's life. Now, after 60 years of service, she is looking after Roger, who works in the film industry and is the only member of the family still resident in Hong Kong. One day Roger comes home from work to find that Ah Tao has suffered a stroke. He rushes her to hospital, where she announces that she wants to quit her job and move into anursing home. Roger researches the possibilities and finds her a room in an establishment run by an old friend. Ah Tao moves in and begins acquainting herself with a new 'family': the brisk but fundamentally kindly supervisor Ms Choi and a motley crew of elderly residents Giving ever more time and attention to Ah Tao's needs and pleasures, Roger comes to realise how much she means to him. -- (C) China Lion
Art House & International , Drama
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:

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Andy Lau
as Roger
Deannie Yip
as Ah Tao
Fuli Wang
as Roger's Mother
Qin Hailu
as Nurse Choi
Evan Lam
as Carmen
Anthony Wong
as Elderly Home Boss
as Aunt Kam
Chin Pei
as Uncle Kin
Hui So-ying
as Mui Gu
Hui So
as Ying-Mui Gu
Wu Wing Chong
as Mui's Mother
Elena Kong
as Aunt Kam's Daughter
Deanie Ip
as Ah Tao
Jason Chan
as Jason
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Critic Reviews for A Simple Life

All Critics (26) | Top Critics (7)

[T]he sort of film in which every detail feels unforced but essential.

Full Review… | August 9, 2012
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Here is a film with the clarity of fresh stream water, flowing without turmoil to shared destiny. No plot gimmicks. No twists and turns. Just a simple life.

Full Review… | August 9, 2012
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

An exquisite and wise moment of celluloid portraiture.

Full Review… | July 31, 2012
Time Out
Top Critic

Often poignant but leavened with humor.

Full Review… | April 20, 2012
Washington Post
Top Critic

Though overlong, Hui's valentine never milks the drama for tears, maintaining an unsentimental focus on the central duo's playful chemistry and the loving way Ah Tao's attention to detail is repaid.

Full Review… | April 12, 2012
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

Ms. Hui, a rare successful female director in the Hong Kong film industry, drew her story from real events, and the movie retains a tonic flavor of the everyday: its drama unfolds simply, without explosive moments but not without emotion

Full Review… | April 12, 2012
New York Times
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for A Simple Life


In "A Simple Life," Ah Tao(Deannie Yip) has been employed by the family of Roger(Andy Lau), a film producer, for decades. Then, one day she has a stroke. Roger pays for her care. With both sensing the end is near for her, he starts looking for a retirement home. Luckily, he knows the owner of one, and is able to cut a deal for a single room for her. While it may not seem like much happens in "A Simple Life" with its deliberate and episodic approach, it is beneath the surface that it is mostly of interest. Namely, it is concerned with life in Hong Kong where as one character points out the population is getting older. On a general note, it is also about family and how it intersects with work, as Roger is about the only family Ah Tao has near her while Roger does seem a little spoiled for a man his age.

Walter M.
Walter M.

Super Reviewer

This is a relatively slow-paced movie showing the relationship between a young Chinese man and the housekeeper who took care of him and his family for 60 years. Ah Tao has a series of medical misfortunes and just as she cared for him as a boy, he cares for her in her old age. The best thing about the movie is how it depicts what must be the ordinary Chinese living in Hong Kong. But also the relationship that exists between these two people is lovingly played out. Recommended.

Kem White
Kem White

A lovely movie about aging, maturing, and learning to care for others. Never brash or broadly sentimental in its message, it succeeds by focusing on the essential details of living and being a good person. Andy Lau's character works in the Hong Kong film industry and it's fun bonus game to try identifying the abundant cameo appearances.

Michael Harbour
Michael Harbour

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