7.3/10
3,658
23 user 88 critic

Ilo Ilo (2013)

Not Rated | | Drama | 29 August 2013 (Singapore)
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In 90s Singapore, the friendship between Filipino nursemaid Teresa and her young charge Jiale makes waves in a family, while the Asian recession hits the region.

Director:

Anthony Chen

Writer:

Anthony Chen
30 wins & 13 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Yann Yann Yeo ... Hwee Leng
Tian Wen Chen ... Teck (as Tianwen Chen)
Angeli Bayani ... Terry
Jia Ler Koh Jia Ler Koh ... Jiale
Peter Wee Peter Wee ... Discipline Master
Jo Kukathas Jo Kukathas ... School Principal
Naomi Toh Naomi Toh ... English Teacher (Mrs Ong)
Stephanie Kiong Stephanie Kiong ... Teacher
Jia Min Chantel Teo Jia Min Chantel Teo ... Teacher
Zhi Fang Xu Zhi Fang Xu ... Teacher
Sea Moi Lee Sea Moi Lee ... Teacher
James Ng James Ng ... Teacher
Sook Fen Wong Sook Fen Wong ... Teacher
Siow Phing Tan Siow Phing Tan ... Teacher
Aizuddiin Nasser ... Teacher (as Muhd Aizuddin Bin Nasser)
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Storyline

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. Jiale, the young and troublesome son, starts to form a unique bond with Teresa, who soon becomes an unspoken part of the family. This is 1997 and the Asian Financial Crisis is beginning to be felt in the region... Written by anonymous

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official site | See more »

Country:

Singapore | Japan | Taiwan | France

Language:

Mandarin | Tagalog | English | Hokkien

Release Date:

29 August 2013 (Singapore) See more »

Also Known As:

Retratos de familia See more »

Filming Locations:

Singapore

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Box Office

Opening Weekend USA:

$8,775, 6 April 2014, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$54,071, 13 July 2014
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The first Singaporeon feature to win an award at the Cannes Film Festival. It won the Caméra d'Or in 2013. See more »

Quotes

Jialer: [praying behind tomb, to deceased Grandpa] Ah Gong, please. I've given you my pet chicken. Please let my teacher strike 4D lottery.
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Soundtracks

Kahapon at pag-ibig
Written by Lolita Carbon
Performed by Asin
Courtesy of Lolita Carbon
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Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Sincerely Authentic
4 December 2013 | by 3xHCCHSee all my reviews

This film "Ilo Ilo" put Singapore on the map of world cinema when it won the Camera D'Or at the Cannes Film Festival this year. Finally, it is now being shown here in the country where the titular place name originates.

We do not even hear the word "Ilo Ilo" mentioned during the film's 99- minute running time, though we do hear the maid Terry speak in the Ilonggo dialect of Iloilo province when she makes a long-distance phone call back home. I doubt if non-Filipinos will recognize that little linguistic detail, so they might wonder about the English title. The Mandarin title of this film is actually "Father, Mother Not At Home." This was exactly what the movie was all about.

We meet a middle-class Singaporean family, the Lims, feeling the crunch of the Asian Economic Crisis during the late 1990s. The father has lost his job in sales and has to make do by accepting a more menial job. The mother is pregnant with their second child, and has a thankless clerical job, typing letters for employees about to lose their jobs. The son Jiale is a naughty little rascal who is obsessed with the lottery, his Tamagotchi and getting himself sent to the Principal's office.

To help with the household chores and to take care of Jiale, the couple decide to hire a maid from the Philippines, Teresa. It was a huge challenge for Terry to get integrated into the family system and into Jiale's troubled life, but she eventually does. But as the Lims continued to experience escalating monetary woes, they need to make an important decision about Terry.

This is actually a simple story of a family going through rough financial times and their relationship with their helper. We usually see this type of story from the point of view of the helper, but this time we see the employer's perspective. The actors who play Lim family are very real in their roles. Tian Wen Chen essays the down-on-his-luck father role with just the right amount of humor. Yeo Yan Yan portrays the frustrations of her character with her life, her husband AND her son very well. Her inner conflicts when she sees Jiale bonding with his Auntie Terry were eloquently reflected on her face. The child actor who plays Jiale is quite the natural in his portrayal. It was surprising to find out later that this was his first ever film role, maybe that is why it was bereft of artificiality.

As for Terry, we don't really know who she was before she came here. She has several skills like cutting hair or driving, but what exactly did she do for a living before going to Singapore? We will also not know what will happen to her after her last scene. Teresa was not really the main character here but she was the important catalyst for the family's story to be more interesting. Filipina actress Angeli Bayani hits the right notes in this role, perfectly mixing her character's timidity and subservience with loyalty and dignity.

Director Anthony Chen toned down everything in his treatment of this story, the script of which he himself wrote based from his own memories about his childhood and his Filipina yaya (or baby sitter). The colors were muted to a pale sepia. There were no scenes of exaggerated melodrama, no over-the-top shouting nor crying, which makes the emotions so authentic. The actors were all subdued in their acting, which makes the performances so realistic. You can feel that the intentions of the film were only modest, but the sincerity is very palpable, and that is what makes the film connect so well with its audiences. 9/10.


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