A Simple Life (桃姐) - movie review
I would like to thank my friends for recommending me this movie. And indeed, it's a hard movie to watch if you are post night call, and even harder to watch if you have been exposed to a recent diet of Transformers, Battle LA or even Wong Fei Hong.
Andy Lau outdoes himself and Ann Hui is a brilliant director, but Deanie Ip is the standout in her role as a domestic "Ah Mah" who has lived in Andy's family for 4 generations spanning 63 years, and in her winter years, gets as stroke and turns from caregiver to patient. Andy shows a wide range of emotions, and Deanie's portrayal of the Jiao Jie is sublime, poignant and heart-warming. There is a stellar cast of actors, and watching life in the old folks home is quite heart rendering.
This movie should be recommended viewing for all healthcare workers, and also for All Singaporeans, and in particular all those who have dumped their parents or relatives in an old folks home and never visited them.
The portrayal of the all suffering old lady is such an accurate view, with her self-sacrificing nature, is realistic, and the environment in the old folks home and their plight is so true to life, it's almost too painful to watch. I have seen for myself how it is there, and this movie with all the big stars, allows a bigger outreach and hopefully change our attitude to our old folks.
The scene where the daughter yells at her mother, who has given her flat to the son, only for the son to dump the old at the home, is something I have seen for myself so many times. Then the old lady who keeps wanting to go home, that is something we have seen so many times, that it digs into your heart..
However, Ann Hui, like many great directors, manages to add an element of humor, and through this, allows a message of how to treat our old folk well to come through nicely and yet retain the thrust of the message well. Andy secures the services of many big Hong Kong stars who add a sense of both levity and balance of humor and seriousness.
When Andy Lau gets mistaken for an air con repairman, that's priceless.
Combined with the elements of cooking, you become hungry, and hungry for a sense of grace, humanness, and immediately you feel like reaching out for your father and mother right there.
I seldom give full marks for the plot, but this comes close to perfection, and deserves all the accolades.
The minus is the rather shaky camera work, which pretends to add realism but actually detracts from the movie.
Chick Factor: Deanie Ip compensates for the lack of action, the usual hottie and in her simple portrayal of Ah Jie, she scores on all fronts.
In a world where money talks, and wealth is prized more than human relationship, this is a show which says so much with so little..
What can I can say, run out, rent this, and then buy it and share it with anyone who has parents.
I have spent some time in orphanages, and the start of the show, where one old man bullies the other, and the other tries not to let others steal his food, are so typical. And the scene of the helper going from old person to old person, feeding each one is classic stuff.