A family and their struggles

A family and their struggles

Set in 1997 in Singapore, Ilo Ilo follows Jia Le (Koh Jia Ler) and his parents, and the challenges they face during the Asian financial crisis. The film also explores the relationship between this family and their domestic helper.

Jia Le is a rebellious, naughty child, and both parents are too busy to handle their son. The family is falling apart, so mum Hwee Leng (Yeo Yann Yann) and dad Teck (Chen Tian Wen) decide to hire a domestic helper.

The Filipino woman, Teresa, arrives and Jia Le alternates between bullying, ignoring and humiliating her. But soon, as the relationship between the boy's parents crumbles, a bond slowly forms between Jia Le and Teresa.

The heartwarming film lacks glitz and glamour, but touchingly explores the mentality of each family member, and how they affect each other. From the tense relationship between the parents, and between them and their son, to the jealousy Hwee Leng feels when Jia Le becomes closer to Teresa, the movie portrays each dynamic effortlessly and realistically.

Previously known for his short films, Ilo Ilo is director Anthony Chen's first feature film. To this project he brings his well-honed storytelling skills, which leaves the audience with much to think about in terms of family, and what that word really means.

YP Rating: 5/5



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