Shoplifters (2018)

Hirokazu Kore-eda's Shoplifters (Japanese: 万引き家族 Manbiki kazoku) was at the top of my Cannes 2018 watchlist not because it won the Palm d'Or as there's plenty of winners I didn' love but because many people in the blogosphere loved it, but my cinema didn't bother showing it so I had to skip it. I finally had the chance to watch it the other day and now I feel like I cannot recommend this movie enough. 

The film follows a family of small-time crooks. One cold February night, one their way home after a successful day of shoplifting, Osamu (Lily Franky) and Shota (Jyo Kairi) see a little girl, Yuri (Miyu Sasaki), sitting out in the cold, shivering, and take her home. At first, Osamu's wife, Nobuyo (Sakura Ando), is not keen to take the girl, but when she hears the girl's parents quarrelling, she and the family decide to take care of her and Yuri becomes part of the family.

At this point, we are about ten minutes in the film, but saying more would spoil your viewing as Shoplifters's is one of those stories that you need to experience and see yourself how it plays out. That said, the story unfolds quite slowly, but the pacing is never an issue here as the story gets increasingly interesting as we learn more about each family member, about the glue that holds them together, and are constantly surprised by the twists and turns the story takes.

Shoplifters's isn't just a compelling, engaging story though, it's also a thought-provoking tale about complex moral issues and ethical doubts, about the real meaning of family and love, a story that delves deeply into the nature versus nurture debate.

In addition, Hirokazu's film is filled with compelling characters. It's truly magnificent how complex and developed the characters are, especially if considering the film's running time —two hours— and that there's plenty of characters. Whether is the old, sweet, caring grandma (Kirin Kiki) everyone else relies on, or the casual labourer father who teaches his son to steal, or the young woman (Mayu Matsuoka) working at a sex club, each one of them is fascinating as they all are people that, in one way or another, failed social obligations, and, as the story develops and we learn more and more about them, we cannot help but care about them, root for them to succeed in life.

GAGA Pictures
As for the cast, Shoplifters has one of the best casts I've seen in recent years. Every single actor gives a genuine, believable performance —the kids, Jyo Kairi and Miyu Sasaki, are incredible, especially the boy. They all embody their characters, their interactions are natural and bring so much authenticity to the film.

In addition, the cinematography is quite extraordinary, with its long shots, intimate, absorbing close-ups and interesting angles, and the score is wonderful.

In other words, Shoplifters should be the foreign language film up for multiple Oscars, not Cuarón's Roma.


  1. This is a film that I really want to see as I've seen some films by Koreeda and have yet to be disappointed by him.

    1. I hope you get to see this soon because it's spectacular.

  2. Finalmente un film sul quale ci troviamo d'accordo al 100% : sono contento! :D
    Sì, questo di Kore-Eda è un piccolo gioiello. Possiede un dono che in pochi riescono a trasporre sullo schermo: la grazia. la grazia e la delicatezza nel raccontare una storia drammatica con soavità e rispetto. bellissimo.

    1. Prima o poi dovevamo andare d'accordo su qualcosa haha