*** ½ (out of 4)
WARNING: Spoilers in review.
Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters follows the Shibatas, a family for which “dirt poor” would be far too generous a descriptor. The patriarch (Lily Franky), a kindly, playful man named Osamu, is a laborer who mooches off his mother-in-law’s (Kirin Kiki) monthly pension and shoplifts groceries with the help of his adopted son Shota (Kairi Jyo). Meanwhile, Osamu’s wife Nobuyo (Sakura Ando) is a laundry worker who gets fired midway through the story. His sister-in-law Aki (Mayu Matsuoka) ekes out a living as a sex worker. And at the film’s start, Osamu also makes the impulsive decision to adopt Juri (Miyu Sasaki), an infant girl who was abandoned by her abusive parents.
On the whole, Shoplifters offers fresh insights into poverty and family, two themes that Kore-eda has grappled with throughout his filmmaking career.