TIFF 2018: Our Review of ‘Shoplifters’

Posted in Festival Coverage, Film Festivals, Movies, Theatrical, TIFF '18 by - September 04, 2018
TIFF 2018: Our Review of ‘Shoplifters’

You’d never think that the pinnacle of family dysfunction on the big screen would come from the land of the rising sun…

Writer/Director Hirokazu Koreeda and his Shoplifters is a poignant tale of not only poverty in the modern age but the necessity and importance of the alternative family unit.

On the outskirts of Tokyo, Osamu (Lily Franky) and his son Shota (Kairi Jyo) shoplift for their groceries, while his wife (Sakura Ando), their daughter (Mayu Matsuoka) and even grandma (Kilin Kiki) find sketchy ways to bring in money.  After one of their sprees, Osamu and Shota come upon a tiny girl named Juri (Miyu Sasaki) in the freezing cold.  Happily joining the family, Juri turns out to be a natural; however an unforeseen incident rears up causing secrets to be revealed in this alternative family unit.

Similar to his other films, Koreeda captures a real functional sense of despair in the modern age as these characters are ‘grifting’ just so that they can make ends meet in a warped ‘family’ tradition.  He never allows for any maudlin emotions to seep in and he has a masterful management of tone throughout the film that makes these characters incredibly likeable thanks to an incredibly talented acting ensemble who quietly add rich layers of nuance to every element in the story.

Koreeda has spent a rich career mining the emotions of the family drama, Shoplifters is yet another example of how much better he is truly becoming as a global filmmaking talent.

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David Voigt is a Toronto based writer with a problem and a passion for the moving image and all things cinema. Having moved from production to the critical side of the aisle for well over 10 years now at outlets like Examiner.com, Criticize This, Dork Shelf (Now That Shelf), to.Night Newspaper he’s been all across his city, the country and the continent in search of all the news and reviews that are fit to print from the world of cinema.
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