18 March 2012


Deanie Ip stepped out from retirement to support her real life godson Andy Lau and acted in the movie "A Simple Life". For her role, she was accorded the Best Actress award at the 68th Venice International Film Festival.

Yes, she acted well in her portrayal of the family servant to the producer's family for 6 decades. In fact, this serious method actress acts very well in every role that I have seen her in but I have also seen her better acting. This is a sad tale but is not a tearjerker.

The movie was as slow-paced as I expected it to be. It was a tad boring too. But I guess they couldn't write in lots of fictional stuff into the storyline if they want to give a faithful account of a real life story.

Sadly, I pity this family servant 桃姐. For 60 years, she served this family whole-heartedly without regrets or a care about herself. She didn't even have a man in her life, much less a son or daughter to call her own till her last breath, She suffered a stroke, moved in to an old folk's home, paid for by the well-to-do producer, portrayed by Andy, whom she treated as her closest relative or son and spent her final moments there.

I don't mean any disrespect, but her life reminds me of those of my dogs. They were neutered and never got a chance to meet their life partner and have babies. I always feel bad towards them for treating them that way. Their lives revolve around me, although not entirely. In a way, 桃姐 did not have a life of her own. I doubt she ever had a chance to live her life the way we do. From the day she stepped into the family, there was no turning back for her. I wouldn't feel so bad for her if she got married but continued to work as a servant for the family during the day. If only things had turned out this way, then perhaps she would have a different purpose and meaning in life.

Anyway, this movie had a few surprises for me. There was an ensemble cast or rather cameos by a list of rather well-known Hong Kong and overseas actors and actresses, including 秦沛, Anthony Wong, Samo Hung, Tsui Hark, Chapman To, Luo Lan, the attention seeking Elena Kong (宫雪花), former Ms Hong Kong beauty queen Eva Lai (黎燕珊), which elicited some laughter from the audience with some of their comical acting. I almost couldn't recognize 宫雪花, whose face is a complete mess and smacks of extensive plastic surgery, until I saw her name in the credits. Towards the end of the show, I was pleasantly surprised to see a few seconds clip of the still radiant  黎燕珊, whom played <西施>, one of the four legendary beauties of China, in the 80's Hong Kong period drama. It was a blink and one would miss it kind of sequence. I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me and was reeling in disbelief until I saw her name at the end of the credits too.