This year’s surprise Cannes Palme d’Or winner is one of Japanese director Kore-eda Hirokazu’s (Our Little Sister, The Third Murder) finest films, about a loving, unconventional family making ends meet on the margins of Tokyo.
Few filmmakers are as delicate observers of family units – and especially of children – as Kore-eda Hirokazu, and Shoplifters radiates with the same joyous naturalism and sad wisdom of his best work.
The eponymous shoplifters are the Shibatas, a low-income family of five struggling away in a tiny corner of Tokyo. Scrimping and saving, as well as stealing whenever necessary, this overcrowded household one day opens their door to an abused child wandering the neighbourhood. Wary of exposing their own living situation, they ignore the authorities and secretly adopt the little girl – to everyone’s greater happiness, but also peril.
The permissible definition of what makes a family is constantly under suspicion, even as we witness the Shibata’s closeness. Their ethical predicament will ultimately be laid bare in ways that resound long after this passionately humane film reaches its final frame.
“Another charming, funny and very affecting example of Kore-eda's special brand of tough-but-tender humanism.” – GEOFF ANDREW, TIME OUT