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A Simple Life 2012 NR

(21) IMDb 7.6/10
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Ah Tao (Deannie Ip) has worked for Roger's (Andy Lau) family as a nanny and maid over the course of four generations. When Roger comes home to find Ah has suffered a stroke and is unable to care for herself, the roles reverse and he becomes her caregiver.

Andy Lau, Deannie Yip
1 hour, 59 minutes

Available to watch on supported devices.

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Product Details

Genres Drama, International
Director Ann Hui
Starring Andy Lau, Deannie Yip
Supporting actors Hailu Qin, Fuli Wang, Paul Chun, Tin Leung, Man-sze Yu, Eman Lam, Elena Kong, Chi-san Chan, So-ying Hui, Anthony Chau-Sang Wong, Chapman To, Raymond Chow, Felicia Chow, Dong Yu, Hark Tsui, Sammo Kam-Bo Hung, John Sham, Yun-sau Mak
Studio Well Go USA
MPAA rating NR (Not Rated)
Rental rights 3-day viewing period. Details
Purchase rights Stream instantly and download to 2 locations Details
Format Amazon Video (streaming online video and digital download)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

23 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Whitt Patrick Pond TOP 1000 REVIEWER on June 26, 2012
Format: Blu-ray
Directed by Ann Hui, A Simple Life (Tao Jie) is a film based on the true story of a woman who worked her entire life as a servant for the family of Hong Kong film producer Roger Lee (who co-wrote the script with Susan Chan), looking after Lee in particular from childhood to adulthood with such affection and devotion that when she suffered a stroke in her later years, Lee and his family reversed their roles and looked after her.

The film begins with Roger Leung (Andy Lau), an accountant in the film industry, who lives in an apartment in Hong Kong with an elderly woman he calls Ah Tao (Deanie Ip), a servant who has worked for his family since before he was even born and now works for him personally. He is leaving on an overnight trip for a business meeting on a new film project and they discuss what she should cook for him while he's gone. When he says he wants ox tongue, a particular favorite dish of his, she chidingly reminds him that he's supposed to be avoiding fatty foods, to which he responds by reminding her that she eats things she shouldn't even though she's supposed to be watching her cholesterol. After he leaves, Ah Tao begins preparing the requested dish anyway. The scene quickly establishes that the relationship between the two is one of long acquaintance, almost familial in the level of informal familiarity displayed.

When Roger returns from his trip however, he finds Ah Tao collapsed on the floor. He calls an ambulance and gets her to the hospital, where they determine that she's had a stroke and will need extensive care and rehabilitation. Suddenly the structure of their lives is disrupted. Ah Tao, who has never been dependent on anyone and has always looked after others, at first stubbornly insists that she should retire and move to a retirement home.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By C. Sawin VINE VOICE on February 27, 2013
Format: Blu-ray
Ah Tao (Deanie Ip) has been attending to Roger's (Andy Lau) family for 60 years. As a movie producer who is always going to meetings out of town, Roger seems to take Ah Tao's maid services for granted; that all changes when Ah Tao has a stroke, retires, and willingly decides to live in a retirement home. Now with their roles reversed, Roger is unsure whether he'll be able to tend to Ah Tao the way she did to his family for generations while Ah Tao just wants to avoid being a burden. However their bond only grows stronger with the role reversal and their relationship seems to amplify because of it.

Andy Lau has become fairly well-known in the states for his performances in the crime trilogy "Infernal Affairs," action films such as "Fulltime Killer," "The Legend of Drunken Master," and "Shaolin," the comedy "God of Gamblers," and the mystery film "Detective Dee and the Mystery of the Phantom Flame." Like most stars from Hong Kong who are approaching middle age, Lau has practically made a permanent jump to the dramatic genre in recent years where his career is suddenly more performance driven rather than taking as much of a physical toll as the films from his past.

The chemistry between Andy Lau and Deanie Ip along with the superb writing of "A Simple Life" is what makes the film worth seeing. The drama probably isn't exactly the type of film that would usually appeal to your interests, but it feels so genuine and is so structurally based in reality that you can't help but realize how strong the film really is. The relationship between Ah Tao and Roger is incredible. Their laughter, the endless amount of stories they have for one another, and that tearful look in their eyes whenever something even remotely sentimental comes up is just extraordinary.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on December 9, 2012
Format: DVD
Ann Hui's 2011 Hong Kong film "A Simple Life" ("Tao jie") is sweet, funny, poignant and above all real. Story-wise the film is pretty basic and predictable. What matters in this moving portrait of modern Chinese life is the two main characters you really care: an elderly woman called Ah Tao (Deannie Yip), who has been serving for the Leungs, a well-to-do family in Hong Kong for more than 60 years since she was 13, and Roger Leung (Andy Lau), the family's only son, working in the film industry.

Ah Tao has been taking care of Roger since he was a baby. With other family members scattered all over the world, Roger alone lives in Hong Kong. Ah Tao cooks and cleans for Roger living in a small apartment room, but when she has a stroke, she quits the job and enters a home for the elderly.

Based on the producer Roger Lee Yan-Lam's life, the deceptively simple story has a lot to offer, including keenly observed accounts of ordinary people. What makes this film special is the chemistry between the stars Deannie Yip and Andy Lau. Their rapport is so genuine and natural. Every small detail - including the gestures and silence of the characters - tells us about Ah Tao and Roger's mother-son-like relationship that is drawn affectionately. Nothing is sappy or sentimental. Everything in the film is so true to life, reminding us of someone close to us, or small events that you have almost forgotten.

The film also has many amusing cameos including Sammo Hung and Tsui Hark as "film directors." Anthony Wong and Chapman To, stars of "Infernal Affairs," both briefly appear as the home's owner and a dentist respectively. You will see familiar faces like Lan Law and Angela Baby (very briefly), as well as Hong Kong film producer Raymond Chow.

In short, "A Simple Life" is a touching drama with a theme that everyone can relate to, describing the way life goes on, with some gentle laughs and genuine insight.
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