Ilo Ilo Image

Universal acclaim - based on 12 Critics What's this?

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Universal acclaim- based on 12 Ratings

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  • Summary: Set in Singapore during the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Ilo Ilo chronicles the day-to-day drama of the Lim family - troublesome grade-schooler Jiale and his overstressed parents, Heck and Leng. Comfortably middleclass and with another baby on the way, they hire Teresa, a Filipino immigrant, as a live-in maid and nanny. An outsider in both the family and Singapore itself, Teresa initially struggles to manage Jiale's antics and find her footing in her new community. The two eventually form a unique bond, but just as Teresa becomes an unspoken part of the family, unforeseen circumstances in an uncertain economy will challenge the new normal yet again. [Film Movement] Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. Reviewed by: Kenneth Turan
    Apr 10, 2014
    Ilo Ilo is writer-director Anthony Chen's first film, but breathtaking intimacy in storytelling is already second nature to him.
  2. Reviewed by: Stephen Holden
    Apr 3, 2014
    This remarkably terse movie doesn’t waste a word or an image. It refuses to linger over each little crisis its characters endure. And its detachment lends a perspective that widens the film’s vision of people reacting to events beyond their control.
  3. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    May 15, 2014
    With evocative performances, especially from the two women, and a nicely modulated sense of nostalgia, Ilo Ilo marks the emergence of a promising new cinematic voice.
  4. Reviewed by: Joshua Rothkopf
    Apr 1, 2014
    None of this is pushed into comic relief—the filmmaker lets his drama play out with gentleness — and you smile at the many evolutions.
  5. Reviewed by: Maggie Lee
    Apr 10, 2014
    Anthony Chen is remarkably astute in his depiction of the class and racial tensions within such a household, his accessible style enabling the characters’ underlying decency and warmth to emerge unforced.
  6. Reviewed by: Mark Jenkins
    Jul 17, 2014
    Sensitive performances by the four main players suit the tone, which is naturalistic and even earthy — most of the characters are shown going to the bathroom — yet ultimately poignant.
  7. Reviewed by: Ben Nicholson
    May 3, 2014
    Throughout, each of Ilo Ilo's performers give wonderfully naturalistic turns, providing the entire film with a heartening authenticity.

See all 12 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 1 out of 1
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 1
  3. Negative: 0 out of 1
  1. Jul 3, 2014
    A great, understated film, natural in every way: in its writing, its acting, its lighting, its camerawork. An organic family drama that flows loosely from one anecdotal stop to the next, perhaps what is Ilo Ilo's best quality is how each small drama feels both incredibly detailed and specific but also broadly relatable as well. Small gestures and glances inform this coming-of-age story with rich nuance; while the friendship between nanny Terry and 10-year old Jianle takes center stage, elements of class struggle, cultural differences, the secrets between husbands and wives, religion, are all espoused in extraordinarily fair ways. There are no villains here, only downtrodden, frustrated individuals, all deserving, all engendering our sympathy. Expand