Shoplifters Review: A Heart-Wrenching, Beautiful, Morally Complex Tale of a Family’s Togetherness Amidst Poverty

Hirokazu Kore-eda has often said that he preferred being compared to a filmmaker like Ken Loach as opposed to Yasujiro Ozu, and with Shoplifters, it’s easy to see why. But just like the British realist filmmaker at his very best, Hirokazu Kore-eda’s ability to craft a story about a group of people trying to overcome the very worst that their life has set in stone for them with such empathy is also what makes for an endearing experience. I knew from watching a film about such people trying to survive in a world that is built by nothing beyond dreary cynicism would already be depressing, but Hirokazu Kore-eda presents every moment of Shoplifters in such a way that hits incredibly close to home. These could be people you know up close, people who are desperate to survive because they cannot find jobs. These are people who you recognize as real, inside a world that you inhabit. No matter how much you would want to believe that this isn’t something that you could see such people stooping down to, you only have one instinct running through your head – you simply want them to survive. To say the least, this is where the power of a tragic tale lies within, and a whole lot more.

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