starring Leanne Best, Jaeden Paige Boadilla, Max Eigenmann, David Hayman
written and directed by Paris Zarcilla
by Walter Chaw What sets something like Paris Zarcilla's Raging Grace apart from similar servant/master, immigrant/colonizer stuff like Lorcan Finnegan's Nocebo is how it offers glimpses of joy amid the suffering. We see a community at play and worship, united in song, celebrating one another, exultant and safe--at odds with how their oppression is generally centred in otherwise sympathetic texts. Jubilation, it turns out, is a useful tool to ratchet up the tension in a film about isolation and domestic enslavement. When you grasp what can be lost, the stakes become unbearably high. Raging Grace isn't a happy film, but there's happiness in it, starting with the hopefulness of its hero's name, Joy (Maxene Eigenmann). Joy's a homeless Filipino house cleaner on an expired visa to the UK struggling to care for her impetuous daughter, Grace (Jaeden Paige Boadilla), on very little money and under the constant threat of discovery and deportation. The two survive by squatting in clients' homes while they're away, and Zarcilla has a lovely touch with the stolen days where mother and daughter pretend to have a place of their own. The rest of Joy's life is a hustle: to get more work, to hold onto existing work, to keep her kid entertained and hidden, and to try to leave the panic out of her voice when she talks to family she's left behind in the Philippines. Before Raging Grace becomes a horror film, it's already a horror film.