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Ilo Ilo (2013)Ilo Ilo (2013)

Ilo Ilo (2013)

A Singaporean family struggles to live through the Asian financial crisis

Drama, Family

7.8

movie

France, Japan

English, Hiligaynon, Hokkien

Character-driven, Slice-of-Life, True-story-based

2013

Anthony Chen

Angeli Bayani, Chen Tianwen, Jialer Koh

99 min

Synopsis

In Singapore, the Lim family welcomes their newly arrived maid, Teresa. Like many other Filipino women, she has come to this city in search of a better life. Her presence in the family worsens their already strained relationship. But Jiale, the young son, soon starts to form a unique bond with Teresa, and she soon becomes an unspoken part of the family.

Our Take

7.8
Renee Cuisia

At the height of the 1997 Asian financial crisis, a small Singaporean family scrambles to keep their middle-class status afloat. The parents shave their expenses and work extra-long hours, but their busyness causes them to neglect their misbehaved son. When his misdemeanors prove to be too much, the mother is forced to hire a stay-at-home nanny, and her presence (along with other external pressures) brings about a change in the house. Suddenly, everyone becomes a bit more aware of their limitations and potential, and from this, a shared empathy grows. In other hands, this story might come off as bare and forgettable, but under first-time-feature director Anthony Chen’s helm, Ilo Ilo comes to life in rich detail, thoughtful shots, and captivatingly natural performances. Despite its many heartbreaking scenes, the film rarely dwells in sentiment, and it’s this restraint that makes Ilo Ilo all the more gripping to watch. 

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