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Belgium, Luxembourg, France · 2010
Rated R · 1h 30m
Director Olivier Masset-Depasse
Starring Anne Coesens, Alexandre Gontcharov , Milo Masset-Depasse, Natalia Belokonskaya
Genre Drama

Tania, the single mother of a young boy from Belarus, brings her family to Belgium in search of a better life. However, when she is discovered to be living there illegally, she is locked in a detention center and must fight to reunite with her son and avoid threats of deportation.

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Variety by

A prolonged stay in a Belgian immigration detention center causes more than a few chinks in the armor of a strong-willed Russian femme in Illegal, Olivier Masset-Depasse's fascinating study of perseverance in the face of subhuman treatment.


Time Out by Joshua Rothkopf

Illegal has caused a stir in Belgium, and the sincerity of the movie can't be denied. But there's little emotion to hold on to, apart from a mother's impotent concern about her wayward teenage son (Gontcharov), still on the outside.


The New York Times by Manohla Dargis

One problem is that while Mr. Masset-Depasse frames Tania's status in vague political terms, he doesn't make an argument. Instead he creates heroes and villains in what is, by turns, a prison flick, a psychological thriller and a maternal melodrama.


Village Voice by Melissa Anderson

Blunt, loud, and showboaty, Illegal suffers even more when compared with another recent Liège-set film about the horrors faced by paperless immigrants: the Dardennes' "Lorna's Silence."

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