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How unexpected that Hong Kong action star Andy Lau, famed for killer cheekbones and killer moves in the Infernal Affairs pics, should find himself at the heart of this tender human drama about a long-serving maid forced into retirement by a stroke. His involvement probably got the film funded, yet he’s also generous enough to play an essentially reactive role as the reserved, workaholic art director who finds himself readjusting his priorities when Deannie Yip’s veteran retainer is no longer there to look after him.
She deservedly won Best Actress at Venice last year for her sterling contribution as the crotchety old girl who hates being fussed over, yet at the same time needs to know that the bond between herself and Lau, for whom she’s cared since he was a child, is something deeper than master and servant.
Ann Hui’s exquisite direction shapes a drama that’s deeply affecting yet never sentimental, drawing effectively on the personal history of its producer, Roger Lee. (Notes by Trevor Johnston.)