A Simple Life

For other uses, see Simple Life (disambiguation).
A Simple Life

Original Hong Kong film poster
Directed by Ann Hui
Produced by Roger Lee
Ann Hui
Jessica Chan
Nansun Shi
Cheung Hong-tat
Stephen Lam
Screenplay by Susan Chan
Roger Lee
Story by Roger Lee
Starring Andy Lau
Deanie Ip
Music by Law Wing-fai
Cinematography Yu Lik-wai
Edited by Kwong Chi-leung
Manda Wai
Distributed by Distribution Workshop
Release dates
  • 5 September 2011 (2011-09-05) (Venice[1])
  • 8 March 2012 (2012-03-08) (China)
  • 9 March 2012 (2012-03-09) (Hong Kong)
Running time
118 minutes
Country Hong Kong
Language Cantonese
Budget ¥30 million
(US$5.4 million)[2]
Box office US$ 6,202,317[3][4]

A Simple Life (Chinese: 桃姐; Jyutping: Tou4 Ze2[5]), also known as Sister Peach, is a 2011 Hong Kong drama film directed by Ann Hui and starring Andy Lau and Deanie Ip.[6] Ip, in the lead role of Sister Peach, won the Best Actress Award at the 68th Venice International Film Festival.[7] Originally, Hui considered retiring after making this film. However, due to the film's success, she changed her mind and is considering other projects.

Lau and Ip had not worked together since 1999's Prince Charming. Production of the film officially began during Chinese New Year. It was filmed in Mei Foo Sun Chuen.[8] Production was wrapped on 6 April 2011 after two months of filming.[9] The film competed in the 68th Venice International Film Festival.[10] It was also selected as the Hong Kong entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 84th Academy Awards,[11][12] but it did not make the final shortlist.[13] A Simple Life was an official selection for competition at the 68th Venice International Film Festival, where it won 4 awards. Deanie Ip won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress for her role in this film. She is the first Hong Konger to win this prize. In March, she also became the first Hong Konger to win the Asian Film Award for Best Actress. At the same event, director Ann Hui became the first woman to win the Lifetime Achievement Award. At the 31st Hong Kong Film Awards Ceremony, A Simple Life won 5 major prizes (film, director, screenplay, actor, actress), repeating what happened with Hui's Summer Snow in 1996. Ann Hui has won Best Director (4 times) more than anyone else at the Hong Kong Film Awards. Ip is the oldest Best Actress recipient (64 years old at the time of her win).


Roger Leung (Andy Lau), an unmarried middle aged Hong Kong film producer lives with Chung Chun-to (Deanie Ip), a maidservant who has worked for his family for decades. Returning home after a business trip, Roger discovers Chung on the floor and calls for an ambulance. At the hospital, Roger discovers that Chung has had a stroke but rather than ask for rehabilitation, Chung decides she wants to retire and asks to be put in a nursing home. While looking for a nursing home Roger discovers one nearby that is owned by his friend. He installs Chung there and visits her in between his production jobs. While visiting To, he tells her friends and neighbours that he is her god son in order to explain their connection.

Visiting Chung in the nursing home allows Roger to become closer to her. Eventually, other members of his family, who mostly live abroad, come to visit her. Roger's mother proposes that they renovate an old apartment that the family owns and allow To to spend the remainder of her days there. However, Chung grows more sickly and suffers a second stroke causing her condition to deteriorate and nullifying the family's plans for her.

Eventually, Chung is hospitalized a final time and Roger makes the decision to allow her to die. At her funeral, the member's of Roger's family pay their respects to her and while Roger delivers the eulogy, a man from the nursing home comes to give her flowers.


Producer Roger Lee began writing loose fragments together and showed them to director Ann Hui. She persuaded him it was enough for a screenplay and encouraged him through his writing process.

Andy Lau and Deanie Ip were chosen in part because of their close relationship to one another as Ip is Lau's godmother and had already played his mother in several films.[14]



Box office

In China, after being shown for only four days, the film made US$5.2 million and reached second place in the top gross film of the week ending 11 March 2012.[15]

Critical reception

Roger Ebert gave the film 4 stars. He wrote, "It expresses hope in human nature. It is one of the year's best films."[16] Hollywood Reporter 's Neil Young wrote that "Film festivals looking for undemanding crowd-pleasers will want to check it out, even at its currently excessive 118-minute running time – much too long for what is indeed a pretty "simple" affair."[17] Variety 's Justin Chang commented: "Fittingly for a film about the challenges and rewards of looking after the sick and aging, this well-observed, pleasantly meandering dramedy requires a measure of patience, and some judicious trimming would improve its chances for export. But the moving, never tearjerking lead performances by Andy Lau and Deanie Ip are strong selling points for Hui's following at home and abroad."[18]

Top ten lists

The film has appeared on the following critics' top ten lists for the best films of 2012:

Critic Publication Rank
Roger EbertChicago Sun-Times10th[19]

Awards and nominations

List of Accolades
Award / Film Festival Category Recipient(s) Result
68th Venice International Film Festival Golden Lion Ann Hui Nominated
Volpi Cup for Best Actress Deanie Ip Won
Equal Opportunities Award Ann Hui Won
Signis Award – Honorable Mention Ann Hui Won
La Navicella Award Ann Hui Won
48th Golden Horse Awards Best Film Focus Films Limited, Sil-Metropole Organisation, Bona Film Group Nominated
Best Director Ann Hui Won
Best Leading Actor Andy Lau Won
Best Leading Actress Deanie Ip Won
Best Original Screenplay Susan Chan Nominated
Best Film Editing Kwong Chi-leung, Manda Wai Nominated
15th Tallinn Black Nights Film Festival – Official Competition EurAsia Jury Awards Grand Prix for Best Eurasian Film Ann Hui Won
Jury Prize for the Best Actress Deanie Ip Won
FICC Awards Ann Hui Won
18th Hong Kong Film Critics Society Awards Best Film Roger Lee Won
Best Director Ann Hui Nominated
Best Screenplay Susan Chan Nominated
Best Actress Deanie Ip Won
2011 Hong Kong Film Directors' Guild Awards Most Recommended Film of the Year A Simple Life (with Let the Bullets Fly, Overheard 2) Won
Most Outstanding Director of the Year Ann Hui (with Jiang Wen, Tsui Hark) Won
Special Honour Award Ann Hui Won
6th Asian Film Awards Best Actor Andy Lau Nominated
Best Actress Deanie Ip Won
People’s Choice for Favorite Actor Andy Lau Won
People’s Choice for Favorite Actress Deanie Ip Nominated
Lifetime Achievement Award Ann Hui Won
4th Okinawa International Movie Festival Peace Category: Uminchu Prize Grand Prix Ann Hui Won
Jury Special Prize Golden SHISA Award Ann Hui Won
31st Hong Kong Film Awards Best Film Roger Lee, Ann Hui, Chan Pui-wah Won
Best Director Ann Hui Won
Best Screenplay Susan Chan Won
Best Actor Andy Lau Won
Best Actress Deanie Ip Won
Best Supporting Actor Paul Chun Nominated
Best Supporting Actress Qin Hailu Nominated
Best Cinematography Yu Lik-wai Nominated
1st Hong Kong Salento International Film Festival Salento Award Deanie Ip Won
12th Chinese Film Media Awards Best Film A Simple Life Nominated
Best Director Ann Hui Nominated
Best Screenplay Susan Chan Nominated
Best Actor Andy Lau Nominated
Best Actress Deanie Ip Won
Film Honoured by 100 Medias in a Year A Simple Life Won
Filmmaker Honoured by 100 Medias in a Year Ann Hui Nominated
Filmmaker Honoured by 100 Medias in a Year Andy Lau Nominated
21st Shanghai Film Critics Award Best 10 Chinese Films A Simple Life (with other 9 films) Won
Best Director Ann Hui Won
10th Paris International Film Festival Audience's Most Favorite Film Ann Hui Won
Best Film Selected by Students Ann Hui Won
33rd Durban International Film Festival Best Actress Award Deanie Ip Won

See also


  1. "Andy Lau and Deanie Ip's "A Simple Life" Premieres at Venice Film Festival to Standing Ovation". TVB News blog
  2. Frater, Patrick (2 March 2011). "Lau and Ip reunite for Sister Peach". Film Business Asia.
  3. "A Simple Life (2012)". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  4. "Hong Kong Yearly Box Office (2012)". Box Office Mojo. IMDB. Retrieved April 17, 2013.
  5. http://www.881903.com/DesktopModules/PlayAudio/Player.aspx?pt=1&pm=1&id=5707886&progName=&progHost=&progTimeCaption=
  6. Smith, Ian Hayden (2012). International Film Guide 2012. p. 133. ISBN 978-1908215017.
  7. "Deanie Ip on 'A Simple Life' and Winning at Venice". Wall Street Journal. 11 September 2011.
  10. "A Simple Life to compete in 68th Venice Film Festival".
  11. "Hong Kong makes it Simple". Film Business Asia. Retrieved 2011-09-22.
  12. "63 Countries Vie for 2011 Foreign Language Film Oscar". oscars.org. Retrieved 2011-10-14.
  13. "9 Foreign Language Films Vie for Oscar". Retrieved 2012-01-19.
  14. Heskins, Andrew. "Roger Lee interview: A not-so-Simple Life". Retrieved 4 October 2015.
  15. "China's Box Office: A Simple Life's Strong Debut". chinafilmbiz.com. Retrieved 20 April 2013.
  16. "A Simple Life". Chicago Sun Times. 8 August 2012.
  17. Hong Kong veteran director Ann Hui brings together two of its major stars, Deanie Ip and Andy Lau, for a crowd-pleasing drama. Young, Neil. Hollywood Reporter. 6 September 2011.
  18. A Simple Life (Tao jie) (Hong Kong) Variety. By Justin Chang 7 Sep. 2011.
  19. Roger Ebert (27 December 2012). "Ebert's Top Movies of 2012". Chicago SunTimes.

External links

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