Set in Singapore, Ilo Ilo chronicles the relationship between the Lim family and 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.
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Slight humanistic debut feature from director Anthony Chen that tells a tale of motherhood and family through the relationship between a Filipino nanny and a family in Singapore. Set against the financial crisis of the late 90's the film feels somewhat clichéd and left me cold. Surprised at its' Camera d'or win to be honest. This is one child that should not be spared the rod.
What exists of good will and good feelings, lacks in a stimulating point of view. The handy camera, without rigor and perspective, that accompanies any practiced gesture, only prolongs the so fashionable, up-to-date, cliché of "the real document." The ending is just a pleonasm to what the film was wasting along its length.
Set in Singapore during the Asian Financial Crisis of 97', Ilo Ilo has an immediate contemporary global resonance. This is a quiet family drama of people on autopilot, struggling to keep face and gradually learning to see life as it is, not as they want it to be. Skilfully told with restrained cinematography consisting almost entirely of mid-shots the viewer is firmly hemmed within the domestic unit. 3.5 stars