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Rui Ling Teo
Listing created by Rui Ling Teo on November 20, 2013    

ILO ILO is an award winning film which is the debut feature of local director Anthony Chen. This film chronicles the relationship between a Singaporean family and their Filipino maid. 



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User rating summary from: 8 user(s)

Complicated issue tackled simply

I'm sure this local film did not win those numerous international accolade in vain.

This film has a very interesting and intriguing concept: the complicated relationship dynamics between an employed domestic worker as well as the different members of the family. It is something most Singaporeans should be able to relate to, since many amongst us hire domestic helpers. The high relatability is definitely a plus point.

Personally I feel that what really hit me when I watched this simple film is when there are so many different perspectives and paradoxes being presented. It reminds people that their helpers are humans with feelings, with problems of their own, with their own children back in where they belong. It confronts the inevitability of the attachments formed between the child and the care-taker (I can highly relate to that) and the emotional conflicts resulted.

I think this film should be able to inspire people to become more sensitive and reasonable in their treatment to their domestic helpers. It has well tackled this multi-dimensional thorny issue in simplicity and great style.

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One of few local films I like

This movie is one of the very very few local movies that I've watched. And I must say that I actually liked it. It is so touching how the maid in the movie actually tugged at my heartstrings when I see how the woman and her son both mistreat her. So emotional!

However I must say the story has quite a few loopholes and is a little confusing. Also, the ending is kind of a downer for me. But still, kudos to this film for capturing perfectly the time it was set in, in 1997, and I actually heard they had to hunt for a flat for ages. Wow! Great to see how this really works in the film.

In essence, if you generally don't like local productions, you might still like this, and might want to watch it

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Great scenes, but not much of a storyline

The reason why I watched this movie was because it won a couple of awards, the same reason why it attracted many viewers, I suppose. In my opinion, there wasn’t much of a storyline. I think the main purpose of the movie was to show viewers the difficulties faced by a typical Singaporean family when in times of recession, and how the family copes with the employment of a domestic helper.

I think the filming methods and techniques were great, but I didn’t enjoy the storyline very much. When the maid left at the end, I felt a little sad, but it was just a twinge, and that was that. But don’t let this put you off, maybe you’ll enjoy the movie!

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Bland Storyline

I was excited to watch this movie as it had won the prestigious Camera D'or - I didn't know what to expect. I was filled with anticipation for a tear-jerker or an intense storyline coupled with cinematic effects to enhance the mood and emotion of the movie.

I was wrong.

While watching this movie on the plane, I was sadly disappointed. The story plot was bland and the ending was abrupt. Not only was the plot underdeveloped, the scenes barely kept the movie moving - most of the scenes were short with the characters having few lines. While the storyline was not up to my expectations, the actors were not to shabby in terms of portraying a sense of local flavour, the accent and the culture were accurately portrayed of an average family. The scenes were also not too bad in terms of filming, many techniques were applied which made the scenes quite beautiful in its serene and artistic composition. Perhaps that might be a saving grace for the bland storyline but since to me storylines make or break the movie, I'd say it wasn't a good movie for me.

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Heart-wrenchingly beautiful

After watching Ilo Ilo in the cinemas today, I had to punch a (metaphorical) wall to feel manly again. It exceeded my expectations of the quality of locally produced films, and I literally had tears streaming down my face by the ending scene.

The film is set during the 1997 Asian Financial Crisis, however the story told is relatable even to viewers like me, 16 years later. The sense of realism and acute poignancy conveyed through the various camera visuals and brilliant acting by the actors set it apart from other locally produced films. Unlike many other Singapore-produced films, (I'm looking at you, Jack Neo) there were no over-dramatic reactions by characters or unnecessary plot twists just for the sake of cheap laughs and that is exactly what I loved about Ilo Ilo. The story telling was unravelled through subtle references peppered throughout the scenes, allowing audience members the time to make their own inferences throughout the film instead of having the entire story synopsis essentially spoon-fed to them.

For those who have been taken care by a maid when they were younger, such as myself, Ilo Ilo's story is a definite tear-jerker. In fact the affection and bond between Auntie Terry (the maid) and Jia Le (the boy) reminded me a lot about my own childhood maid, who left Singapore when I was around 6. Perhaps, it was because I had a similar bond with my own maid that I could relate so well to Jia Le's bond with Auntie Terry. Nevertheless, I would highly recommend Ilo Ilo to any movie-goer tired of the slapstick crudeness of other locally-produced movies or the glitzy sheen of action films from tinsel town. With a stunning cast and beautifully painted storyline, Ilo Ilo is definitely a movie that now has a special place in my heart.

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Arthouse film

For a film that's won several awards, ILO ILO surprisingly disappointed me.

I'm not sure if I've grown accustomed to the works of Jack Neo (who clearly has a flair for the dramatic, and I always find myself sobbing to one of his films), but despite all its poignancy, ILO ILO is a film that failed to reach out as well to me. In fact, ILO ILO focuses more on the subtle boiling frustrations of a typical middle-class family rather than full-out drama. Its subtlety, combined with the slow pace of the film, made me rather disengaged from the film, which was probably the root of my disappointment.

That said, ILO ILO makes use of amazing camera techniques and cinematography. The camera techniques and editing definitely complemented the dialogue and strengthened its impact. There's also so much symbolism involved in the entire film if you observe close enough, which better brings out the social message that the film intends to deliver.

ILO ILO is truly an amazing arthouse film, and it's rather easy to see how it could have won so many prizes, what with the amazing filming techniques and editing involved. However, perhaps it's simply not a film for the masses, because it does have tendencies to get a little boring for the average crowd.

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Heart warming, relatable

ILO ILO exceeded my expectations. The filming in a local environment made it all the more relatable and personal for me. I never had a maid growing up, but I saw how many of my peers who had maids interacted with them. It was exactly how Jiale treated his maid, Teresa, taking her for granted and even mistreating her at times. Despite all this, Jiale's eventual friendship with his maid reminded me of my young cousin, who glues herself more to her maid than her parents.

I highly recommended this movie for people who like local films. Along the way, I think this film teaches several important life lessons that we can learn from as well.

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Maybe for awards, but not for me

Ilo Ilo has indubitably been widely acclaimed having been the recipient of many awards at the international level. However, it is simply not for me.

Ilo Ilo stands out, aside from the fact that it is locally produced, it is very different from those typical Hollywood blockbusters. The producers of Ilo Ilo intended to deliver a deep social message that is reflective of a social phenomena in Singapore and I respect that. Moreover, the techniques employed by the directors served to bring that message out very well. But to me, this show is simply too slow moving and not my cup of tea. I have to admit that it was touching though.

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