‘I Was a Simple Man’ Review: A Ghostly Constance Wu Guides Her Dying Husband in a Gentle Meditation on Life [Sundance 2021]
Posted on Monday, February 8th, 2021 by Hoai-Tran Bui
“Dying isn’t simple is it?”
Masao (Steve Iwamoto) is on his death bed, unwilling — or unable — to reckon with his debilitating sickness, even as his estranged children and grandchildren flit around and away from his bedside. The only presence that has stuck by his side the entire time he’s been bedbound is not a physical one: it’s the ghost of his long-dead wife, Grace (a beatific Constance Wu), who had arrived soon after the formerly robust, dynamic Masao had received his diagnosis, looming on the outskirts of his isolated house before finally being allowed entrance by her frightened husband. As Masao waits to die, his spectral wife guiding him through his final days, Christopher Makoto Yogi‘s elegiac family drama I Was A Simple Man crafts a haunting tapestry of a man’s life, interwoven with Hawaii’s own post-colonial landscape, highlighting and embracing the scars that are left behind by both.