TIFF 2013: Ilo Ilo Review

Ilo Ilo

Ilo Ilo


Director: Anthony Chen

Terry, a young Filipino mother (Angeli Bayani), leaves her child behind to take a job as a live in maid for an upper middle class family in Singapore whose livelihood is on the rocks in this well written and directed debut feature from Chen.

The kid Terry is tasked with cleaning up after (Koh Jia Ler) is an unrepentant, troublesome brat. The mother (Yeo Yan Yan) of the house is not only extremely pregnant and bigoted, but also working herself to the bone at her day job that’s been cutting back employees regularly. Her husband (Chen Tian Wen) doesn’t fare much better, losing his job as a tempered glass salesman and barely hanging onto a gig as a security guard. While they all treat Terry very poorly, she provides a much needed service and in the process becomes more of a nanny than a housekeeper.

It’s certainly uncomfortable at times and sometime drags down the stretch, but Chen delivers an unflinching look at low paid immigrant labour amid a country’s economic crisis that’s more universal than one would think on a passing glance. It could just as easily take place in America or Canada, adding an extra layer of interest.


Thursday, September 5th, TIFF Bell Lightbox 3, 6:15pm


Saturday, September 7th, Scotiabank 13, 2:45pm

Friday, September 13th, TIFF Bell Lightbox 2, 12:30pm