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Ilo Ilo (Film) Review

 
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At A Glance...
 

Genre:
 
Director:
 
Actor: , , ,
 
Length: 99 minutes
 
Release Date: September 2014
 
Final Score
 
 
 
 
 
3.5/ 5


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We liked?


An emotional drama, filled with crises and relationship issues that seem insurmountable.

Not so much?


Seems incomplete at times, as viewers are left wonder about what has happened, and will happen, to the characters.


Final Fiendish Findings?

Ilo Ilo is a snapshot of a family, taken from a most challenging time in their lives. As viewers begin the film, they are introduced to young Jiale. Jiale is a decidedly naughty young boy of around ten, who must certainly earns every reproaching he gets – and yet, none of the punishments and calls […]

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Posted September 22, 2014 by

 
Full Fiendish Findings?
 
 

Ilo Ilo is a snapshot of a family, taken from a most challenging time in their lives.

As viewers begin the film, they are introduced to young Jiale. Jiale is a decidedly naughty young boy of around ten, who must certainly earns every reproaching he gets – and yet, none of the punishments and calls to his mother from the school seem to make much difference. His stressed and overworked parents hardly seem to have much energy to fix his behavior either, with both of them furiously working to keep their upper class lifestyle amidst a terrible economic crisis.

Ilo Ilo is set in Singapore in the mid 90’s, and it seeks to present a typical family of that time. The somewhat henpecked father works hard at his job as a salesman, but he just isn’t any good at it – nor is he good at the stock markets gambles that he sinks the family’s savings into. The mother is obviously the glue that holds the family together, but between long hours at her secretarial position (where she watches one employee after another being laid off, all while dodging calls from the school about Jiale), and her advancing pregnancy, little energy is left for caring and nurturing. Her time at home and work is spent in a no-nonsense dedication to hard work – and often disdain for her husband, who typically gives in to his wife’s demands overtly, while quietly defying her in small ways.

And into this chaos comes Terry, the Filipino maid who has been hired to tend the house and care for Jiale. Little pretense is made of Terry being anything other than a glorified servant. Her boss immediately takes her passport, and shows her to the trundle bed in Jiale’s room that serves as her quarters. Terry is submissive and obedient, carrying out every demand made of her without complaint, as she is servant also to her responsibilities at home. The money made at this job will support the young son she had to leave behind.

With Terry sneaking jobs on the side to supplement her income, the mother searching for some sort of meaning in a shady self help course, the father steadfastly hiding the loss of his job from his family, and young Jiale acting out every bit of the family drama in poor behavior, Terry will not have easy task of this job. And yet, despite everything going on around them, Terry and Jiale slowly begin to form a bond and even a friendship of sorts – and this very bond is a source of even more drama, and Jiale’s mother becomes jealous of the relationship between the two.

Ilo Ilo is no feel good film that will leave you laughing as you exit the theater. This is a family under real crisis, and despite being set decades ago, there is much to relate to for modern viewers. Terry is also a very relatable character, as she does whatever she must to provide a life for her child – even if that means she can’t be there for him. Rather than feeling like a complete story, Ilo Ilo comes off as a snapshot of a time in this family’s life, with what came before and after left mostly to the imagination.


Amy

 
U.S. Senior Editor & Deputy EIC, @averyzoe on Twitter, mother of 5, gamer, reader, wife to @macanthony, and all-around bad-ass (no, not really)