Writer: Hirokazu Koreeda (Screenplay)
Starring: Lily Franky, Sakura Ando, Kirin Kiki, Mayu Matsuoka, Jyo Kairi, Miyu Sasaki
Plot: A family of small-time crooks take in a child they find outside in the cold.
Tagline – Sometimes you choose your family.
Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: Shoplifters starts as we meet the Shibata family, Osamu (Franky), Nobuyo (Ando), Hatsue (Kiki), Aki (Matsuoka) and Shota (Kairi) they are living in a tiny room where they struggle to make ends meet, with the parents working low paying jobs and being forced to shoplift just to put food in their mouths, they only end up taking in young Yuri (Sasaki) who is being abused by her parents. We continue to see how the six operate through each day and how they welcome young Yuri in even if it makes their own lives more difficult.
Thoughts on Shoplifters
Characters – Osamu is the father of the house, he works in construction when he can get work and guides the younger members on how to get away with shoplifting, he does get injured which sees him housebound for a month, though his relationship with his children is all over. Nobuyo is his wife that is the most reluctant to take Yuri in at first until she sees the conditions she is from, she does also work for a living, where she takes stuff she finds in pockets. Hatsue is the one that owns the home, he is living off her pension, but it is believed she lives alone. Aki works in a gentleman’s club as a dancer and performer behind glass, it brings in the best money and could see her find her way out of the poverty line the family is on. Shota is the youngest member of the family, he is the most streetwise of the group, he does the most shoplifting on a daily basis, he has it down to an art, while helping Yuri understand the art. Yuri is a young girl the family sees, they take her home to feed only to learn of her abuse, they end up welcoming her to the family and she learns how take part in the shoplifting.
Performances – We have a cast here that deliver on such a top level you would believe them to be a real family, living a normal life. We don’t just praise the adults here, the child actors give wonderful performance too.
Story – The story here follows a family of shoplifters living just above the poverty line in Japan. We see how they struggle through each day, being forced to break the law just to feed themselves. This does sound like one of the stronger dramas because each character gets to show us their day, the best, the worst and the family part of the day, but there is a bigger secret here and one that turns everything on its head making this one of the more shocking stories you will see. We get to see how the poverty line can be so unfair on child, but the parents will always put them first when it comes to feeding them, we also see how in the end money won’t be the thing that buys happiness, it is the people who are there for you.
Settings – The film is set in Japan, with a lot of the film taking place inside the small house the whole family lives in, we see the streets they wonder, with the day trip to the beach being one of the biggest scenes.
Final Thoughts – This is one of the most beautiful heart-breaking films you will see, it has wonderful performances from the whole cast and will leave you feeling emotional drained.
Overall: Emotionally moving.