Adapted from a famous novel written by Chi Li, Life Show tells the story of Lai Shuang Yang (Tao Hong), who runs a small restaurant in an old quarter of Shanghai. Installed as the family matriarch after her mother died and father eloped shortly afterwards, Lai Shuang cares for her nephew, struggles to keep her brother away from drugs and, most importantly, trying to regain possession of the family home that was lost during the Cultural Revolution. Shuang Yang will stop at nothing to retake the family estate, even marrying off her restaurant helper, Ah Mei, to the Housing Bureau officer's son. When a male customer begins to show an interest in her, Shuang Yang starts to believe that her lonely life can change and happiness is possible after all. Her focus, however, is not on romance as it is on making a home. But in this their goals diverge sharply when she discovers that he has not the slightest intention of marrying her. She goes back to smoking cigarettes and waiting as life passes her by.