A Japanese couple stuck with part-time jobs and hence inadequate incomes avail themselves of the fruits of shoplifting to make ends meet. They are not alone in this behaviour. The younger and the older of the household are in on the act. The unusual routine is about to change from care-free and matter-of-fact to something more dramatic, however, as the couple open their doors to a beleaguered young girl. The reasons for the family's habit and their motivations come under the microscope.Written by
Great performance from Kirin Kiki in her final role
Shoplifters: A non-nuclear family drama infused with humour set in Tokyo. We have Grandma Hatsue (Kirin Kiki)who subsidies the rest of the clan with her pension, the father Osamu (Lily Franky) is a casual labourer, he teaches son Shota (Kairi Jó) to shoplift while he causes distractions, mother Nobuyo (Sakura Ando) works in a laundry and steals valuables left in pockets, her sister Aki (Mau Matsuko) serves as a hostess in a bar. Their relationships is left open to question but they function as a family.
Coming home from a shoplifting expedition, Osamu and Shota find a cold and hungry young girl, Yuri (Miyu Sasaki), they bring her home and feed her. They try to return her home but Nobuyo hers Yuri's parents quarrelling and violence occurring. They decide to keep Yuri after discovering bruises on her arms. Life continues, Yuri becomes part of the family, Shota uses her as distraction during pilfering escapades. Then Yuri appears on TV, social services have discovered that she has been missing for two months without her parents reporting it.
A tale of family life in Japan, how family isn't always those who are related to you, rather they are the ones who care for you. Even when Osamu is injured at work and Nobuyo loses her job they don't abandon Yuri. There is an interdependence going on here, Grandma doesn't want to die alone so she allows this ersatz family to live with her. But even she has her own secrets. At different levels the houses adult inhabitants are exploiting as well as caring for eachother. This is at times a satire about Japanese family life and the dichotomies between supposed familial responsibilities in theory and in actuality.
A great performance from Kirin Kiki in her final role before she died earlier this year. Kairi and Miyu are covoncing as children who have had a hard life but are moving beyond it. Mostly cramped shots in the small house or dark shops contrasted with wider, brighter, pans along the banks of the River. Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda, Shoplifters deservedly won the Palme d'Or at Cannes in 2018. 9/10.
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