Shoplifters – Award Material Here

Rating (4 out of 5)

Summary:  Shoplifters offers an intriguing and charming introspective into the meaning of family and what defines right and wrong.  A thoughtfully paced drama with a few moments of laughter intertwined to make Shoplifters a must-see movie.  Additionally, Shoplifters contains a reveal leaving you searching for clues you should have seen earlier after you leave the theater.  A Golden Globe Best Motion Picture – Foreign Language nominee superior to the Golden Globe Best Motion Picture nominees.  

Warning:  Unless you have mastered Japanese readings subtitles are needed throughout Shoplifters.

Plot:  A family of shoplifters adopts/kidnaps a young abused little girl.  What will happen to the family now?

What I Liked:  The movie opens up with a great sequence of the father and son shoplifting from a grocery store.  Immediately we discover the little girl sitting out in the cold, and the father and son shelter her.  You are promptly introduced to all the family members and engaging the audience immediately.

There are a few memorable sequences demonstrating the relationships between the family.  The first scene happens when the family crane their necks out of the house to see the fireworks, content on being together.  The other memorable section occurred when the family travels together to the beach casually enjoying the day.  At the beach, several family members participate in a couple of surprisingly meaningful conversations.

I don’t want to reveal anything about the family and their big secret, but there are multiple hints throughout the movie, that in hindsight I should have noticed.  The revelation impacts each family member as they have to contemplate choices which impact the overall group.  The situations and choices caused me to contemplate my concept of family after the movie.

What I Didn’t Like:  There are a couple of scenes slowing the pace of the movie down and causing my interest to wane.  For example, Aki (Mayu Matsuoka) sits in an adult chatroom (not the internet) with a young male client and the young man doesn’t talk.  I understand the scene added to Aki’s character buildup, but I strained to stay awake.  There are a few others of these types of scenes.