February/March 2018

Filmmakers Patrick Daly and Joel Fendelman examine the global plight of migrant workers by telling the unhappy story of Marie (Angela Barotia), a Filipina wife and mother who leaves her husband, sons, and daughter for a job as a housekeeper to a well-to-do Singapore family so that she can send money home. Although not a documentary, the script is based on the experiences of Barotia and other non-professionals in the cast, and the directors stage the action—shot in Singapore and the Philippines—in a gritty style. Marie discovers that her salary will be reduced to cover the costs of her training and transportation, so she has to take on additional jobs to meet the needs of her family. And they, in turn, undermine her efforts: her philandering husband spends the cash she sends on another woman rather than repairing his taxi, and her daughter gets pregnant before she is able to finish school. As a result, Marie is forced to return home, her hopes of opening a hair salon dashed. Once back, Marie’s situation deteriorates further in what clearly appears to be a sad cycle. A realistic and timely film that carries the ring of truth, this is recommended. (F. Swietek)