Ilo Ilo is a charming film by first time feature director Anthony Chen. When Terry (Angeli Bayani), a Filipino nanny, is hired by a Singaporean family, she confronts problem child Jiale (Koh Jia Ler), who we first meet in trouble at school. At first, Jiale resists this new presence in his life trying his best to get Terry in trouble. As the story progresses and tensions rise within the family, Terry and Jiale bond, almost to an unhealthy degree as Terry almost becomes a replacement mother.
There’s not much to dislike about Ilo Ilo but there’s not much to rave about either. It effectively tells its story and all the characters feel authentic. Ilo Ilo realistically portrays the ups and downs of a fairly normal family. The plot is simple and fairly predictable, but enjoyable nonetheless. The festival has featured a few stellar performances by children and Koh Jia Ler continues the trend.
Using the festival’s scoring system, I ranked this Good or 3 out of a possible 5.
Check out all my 2013 Philadelphia Film Festival posts!