Ilo Ilo Movie Review: This 2013 Singaporean drama Is Answer To Hollywood’s ROMA

Movie: Ilo Ilo (Mom and Dad Are Not Home)

Date: August 29, 2013.

Genre:  Family Drama

Runtime: 99 mins

Starcast: Chen Tianwen, Yeo Yann Yann, Angeli Bayani, Koh Jia Ler

Story And Dialogues: 

The film is based on 1997 Asian financial crisis and talks about a Singaporean family of a mother, father and a son. Then, we see an entry of a maid who belongs to Philippines but come down here for a better life. The maid role played by actress Angeli Bayani reminds me of the film Roma where the lead actress played the role of a maid. The pain in the life of maid (Terry) is much visible in each and every frames. The child role played by Koh Jia Ler is good enough to make you cry in the end. The best moment I felt in the film, when Terry was leaving the child at the airport and the boys took her hand and holds firmly. The kid knows the importance of the maid in his house. The story also talks about the financial crisis in their family and how they are dealing with it. There a scene in the film, where the mischievous boy canned by a teacher in front of whole class for his wrongdoings. This scene will also break your heart. The dialogues in this film are real and strong. The story is so strong that you too can connect with it easily.


Acting Performances: Angeli Bayani at her best in her maid role. Koh Jia Ler as a debutant kind was brilliant. The parents role played by Chen Tianwen and Yeo Yann Yann  were equally brilliant. It was top notch film in terms of acting. That’s why this film holds a 100 percent ratings on Rotten Tomatoes, a review website.

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Music, Screenplay, Editing, And Cinematography:

The music of this film was vividly engrossed in all the scenes. The editing work is beautiful in the film and thanks that they have kept the film around 99 minutes. The story has been presented beautifully with the screenplay. There were no lags in the screenplay in this film. Everything seems well connected to one another. The shots were good taken by cinematographer Benoit Soler. There is a shot that he took, where the top page of a newspaper is waving in wind and you can see a small cut in the middle of the paper. As we all know, the child use to cut the lottery numbers from the paper and make a note of it in one of his books. There is also a shot where the father gives his old car in a scrap and in the next scene you see a car being scrapped by a big machine. The shot clearly indicates the breaking of his heart as it was the only car he had and due to the need of money he gave his car to scrap dealer.


Director: Anthony Chen, the director current age is 36 and that means he made this film when he was around 28 to 29 years. In that age, making a film like this enough to tell his brave talent behind the seats. It was his debut film and it won Camera d’Or at Cannes film festival. I am excited to watch his second film Wet Season (2019) soon!

Why To Watch: It is 100 times better film than a typical masala movies. It is real, raw and unsettling. And most importantly you will learn a lot of lessons from this film.

Ratings: 90% (Mind blowing) /100.

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