A Simple Life Image
Metascore
81

Universal acclaim - based on 6 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.6

Generally favorable reviews- based on 11 Ratings

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  • Summary: 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, including the dapper Uncle Kin, the jealous Auntie Kam, the erudite ‘Headmaster’ and the good-hearted dialysis patient Mui Gu. Giving ever more time and attention to Ah Tao’s needs and pleasures, Roger comes to realise how much she means to him. Roger’s mother visits from California and suggests reclaiming an apartment building the family owns to provide Ah Tao with a final home of her own. But Ah Tao’s health begins to deteriorate rapidly....(China Lion Film Distribution) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 6 out of 6
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 6
  3. Negative: 0 out of 6
  1. Reviewed by: Roger Ebert
    Aug 8, 2012
    100
    The movie has an emotional payoff I failed to anticipate. It expresses hope in human nature. It is one of the year's best films.
  2. Reviewed by: Rachel Saltz
    Apr 12, 2012
    90
    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. She and her two excellent leads keep the film buoyant.
  3. Reviewed by: Justin Chang
    Aug 8, 2012
    80
    Suffused with the gentle, unforced humanity viewers have come to expect from Hong Kong helmer Ann Hui, A Simple Life is a tender ode to the elderly, their caregivers and the mutual generosity of spirit that makes their limited time together worthwhile.
  4. Reviewed by: Sheri Linden
    Apr 13, 2012
    70
    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.
  5. Reviewed by: Ernest Hardy
    Apr 10, 2012
    70
    A deceptively simple film, gingerly peels layer after layer of sharp insights into the dynamics of familial love, using compassion and droll humor as its tools. Its strength is that it manages to tap genuine emotion without succumbing to sentimentality.
  6. Reviewed by: Chuck Bowen
    Apr 10, 2012
    63
    A Simple Life may have one of the most accurate titles in all of cinema, as the film has a bracingly casual sense of day-to-day working-class life that recalls the films of Jean Renoir or, more recently, Olivier Assayas.
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 3 out of 3
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 3
  3. Negative: 0 out of 3
  1. Dec 5, 2012
    9
    What a great movie! And the performance of Deannie Yip was talked for years. The feelings of warming and touching she made is extremly blow up my mind. Expand
  2. Apr 13, 2012
    9
    Extremely touching! This is one of the best Hing Kong movies in years. It is also quite realistic as it reflects the condition of Hong Kong a few decades ago. It is a must-see movie!!! Expand
  3. Apr 24, 2012
    7
    I am somewhat prejudiced since I am an Anglophile. I loved the witty dialogue and repartee in the film. I especially enjoyed Kristin Scott Thomas as the manipulative PR person for the Prime Minister. The story is quite improbable but it is sort of escapist, plus, you get to see a lot of lovely scenery. Expand