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  • Summary: Tania is a former teacher from Russia, living illegally in Belgium with her 14-year-old son, Ivan. One day, they are stopped on the street for a routine check by the police; Tania is arrested and placed in an immigration detention center for women, while Ivan manages to escape. ThreatenedTania is a former teacher from Russia, living illegally in Belgium with her 14-year-old son, Ivan. One day, they are stopped on the street for a routine check by the police; Tania is arrested and placed in an immigration detention center for women, while Ivan manages to escape. Threatened with imminent deportation and fearful for Ivan's fate, Tania embarks on a harrowing journey, determined to preserve her dignity and find her son. (Film Movement) Collapse
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 5
  2. Negative: 0 out of 5
  1. Reviewed by: V.A. Musetto
    Mar 25, 2011
    75
    Anne Coesens, wife of the film's director, Olivier Masset-Depasse, gives a strong performance as Tania.
  2. Reviewed by: Boyd van Hoeij
    Mar 22, 2011
    70
    A prolonged stay in a Belgian immigration detention center causes more than a few chinks in the armor of a strong-willed Russian femme in Illegal, Olivier Masset-Depasse's fascinating study of perseverance in the face of subhuman treatment.
  3. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Mar 22, 2011
    60
    Illegal has caused a stir in Belgium, and the sincerity of the movie can't be denied. But there's little emotion to hold on to, apart from a mother's impotent concern about her wayward teenage son (Gontcharov), still on the outside.
  4. Reviewed by: Manohla Dargis
    Mar 24, 2011
    50
    One problem is that while Mr. Masset-Depasse frames Tania's status in vague political terms, he doesn't make an argument. Instead he creates heroes and villains in what is, by turns, a prison flick, a psychological thriller and a maternal melodrama.
  5. Reviewed by: Melissa Anderson
    Mar 22, 2011
    40
    Blunt, loud, and showboaty, Illegal suffers even more when compared with another recent Li├Ęge-set film about the horrors faced by paperless immigrants: the Dardennes' "Lorna's Silence."
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Dec 14, 2011
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. Ms Coesens performance is exceptional. I winced at every moment, not knowing what was to happen. I was not drawn into the politics as I'm not sure that was the intent. What kept this film from "A" quality is what was happening concerning deportation. I was frustrated that the reason or policy for illegals was not explained. In a country not known for mistreating people there are some glaring and incredulous scenes. Therefore, I was drawn in to the emotion, the passion, and the fear but disappointed there was no explanation of why illegals are treated this way in Belgium. Expand

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