Undocumented immigration is not only a heated subject in America but also controversial in the UK. Writer/director Paris Zarcilla offers an insightful but haunting glimpse into the experience of an unauthenticated Filipina domestic employee. Joy (Max Eiggenman) struggles as a single mother to raise her daughter Grace (Jaeden Paige Boadill) and provide for both of them. As they are both homeless, Joy can’t seem to hold down a steady job and only accepts temporary housekeeping jobs where the owners/residents are away, so she and Grace can reside there for the duration of the assignment.
After too many close calls, where they risk being discovered, Joy finally gets what seems like a golden opportunity–a live-in position as a housekeeper and caregiver for a terminally ailing British aristocrat (David Hayman). However, there is much more to the man and his family than meets the eye, and both Joy and Grace soon discover that the seemingly sweet and gentle man has a dark and sinister side. Grace’s time at the old mansion is an eye-opening educational experience, as the unruly but innocent child has her first exposure to racism and white supremacy.
Raging Grace is easily one of my favorite movies of this year’s festival. Filmmaker Paris Zarcilla delivers a nightmarish drama that comes across more like a horror story/mystery thriller. Zarcilla and his crew build the tension and suspense beautifully and utilize the style to provide sharp commentary on immigration and racial relations between white British people and Filipinos. Zarcilla dubbed his movie “a coming of rage” story, which perfectly describes this incredible film. In her time at the mansion, Grace discovers the ugly side of humanity but realizes that she does not have to accept it.