Ilo Ilo review

Maid in Singapore...

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Winner of last year’s Camera d’Or in Cannes, Anthony Chen’s touching 1997-set debut tells of a Filipino maid, Terry (Angeli Bayani), who comes to work for a Singapore family buckling under the pressure of economic recession.

Painting a tough-but-realistic portrait of life as a domestic, Chen doesn’t simply trade on hardships, with the put-upon Terry’s bond with the family’s son Jiale (Koh Jia Ler) providing the film’s heart.

As their early fights give way to growing respect, it’s a beautifully calibrated relationship, with small moments gradually building into something much bigger.

A gem.

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Freelance writer

James Mottram is a freelance film journalist, author of books that dive deep into films like Die Hard and Tenet, and a regular guest on the Total Film podcast. You'll find his writings on GamesRadar+ and Total Film, and in newspapers and magazines from across the world like The Times, The Independent, The i, Metro, The National, Marie Claire, and MindFood.