Ilo Ilo (2014)

Ilo Ilo



Critic Consensus: Quietly compassionate and rich in detail, Ilo Ilo is a strikingly mature debut from writer-director Anthony Chen.

Movie Info

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 … More

Rating: Unrated
Genre: Drama
Directed By:
Written By: Anthony Chen
In Theaters:
On DVD: Sep 16, 2014
Box Office: $54.1k
Film Movement - Official Site


as Mother

as Father

as Discipline Master

as School Principal

as English Teacher (Mrs...

as Fat Boy

as Mother's Colleague (...

as Jimmy Goh

as Salon Owner

as Hairdresser

as IT Manager

as Subordinate

as Job Interviewer

as Provision Shop Owner

as Grandmother

as Elder Brother

as Elder Sister-In-Law

as Elder Sister

as Elder Brother-In-Law

as Younger Sister

as Younger Brother-In-L...

as Younger Brother

as Younger Brother's Gi...
Show More Cast

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Critic Reviews for Ilo Ilo

All Critics (34) | Top Critics (12)

Chen builds his case not with sentimentality and obvious plot points, but through everyday life -- showering, doing laundry, dropping the boy off at school, phone calls.

Full Review… | August 21, 2014
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Critic

The crowded compositions convey a sense of life in the dense Asian city-state, but also the intimacy of this semi-autobiographical story.

Full Review… | July 17, 2014
Washington Post
Top Critic

Anthony Chen, a Singaporean writer-director with a half-dozen shorts to his credit, makes his feature debut with this vividly characterized domestic drama.

Full Review… | May 22, 2014
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Characters who may seem hopeless begin to suggest a vulnerable side, and none truly deserve the situations that afflict them.

Full Review… | April 10, 2014
Seattle Times
Top Critic

"Ilo Ilo" is writer-director Anthony Chen's first film, but breathtaking intimacy in storytelling is already second nature to him.

Full Review… | April 10, 2014
Los Angeles Times
Top Critic

The acting is terrific, as is the attention to detail.

Full Review… | April 10, 2014
Arizona Republic
Top Critic

Audience Reviews for Ilo Ilo


A not very interesting effort that seems a tad confused about what it wants to say and whose flawed plot suffers from many unresolved elements, such as the mother's contrived jealousy, the lack of a proper explanation for the boy's bad behavior and his abrupt bonding with the maid.

Carlos Magalh„es

Super Reviewer

Possibly the best Singaporean film I've ever seen. An entirely un-sugarcoated portrait of a Singaporean family's life, with powerful performances from Angeli Bayani and the tyrant boy Koh Jia Ler. Events are believable, small, but poignant, and you end up feeling for everybody in the end.

Letitia Lew
Letitia Lew

Super Reviewer


With one child, Jiale(Koh Jia Ler), being a pain in the neck and another one on the way, Hwee Leng(Yann Yann Yeo) decides to hire a maid, Teresa(Angeli Bayani) who is from the Philippines to help with the housework and to pick up Jiale from school which he does not cooperate with.(Upon hiring her, Hwee Leng confiscates her passport whose numbers she uses for the lottery.) While Hwee Leng has the unthankful task of having to type out pink slips at work, her husband Teck(Tian Wen Chen) also has more than his share of troubles at his sales job before he himself loses his job.

While by no means a reinvention of cinema, "Ilo Ilo" makes the most of its familiar plot in order to tell an endearing story about family that demonstrates ably how people can turn out to surprise you. This is in Singapore, a multicultural country without any apparent traditions of its own. What is universal about the story is how people gamble on both the lottery and the stock market(the movie is set in 1998 during the Asian Financial Crisis) no matter where you go which only end up adding to their troubles.

Walter M.

Super Reviewer

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