A master of threading the needle between conflict and contrivance, Kore-eda manages to turn this drama inside out without every betraying its most resonant truth.
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This small film is a thoughtful addition to his parables about happy and unhappy families (Nobody Knows, After the Storm), studded with memorable characters and believable performances that quietly lead the viewer to reflect on societal values.
Boasting excellent performances all round (with the writer-director once again demonstrating his expertise with children), Shoplifters is another charming, funny and very affecting example of Kore-eda’s special brand of tough-but-tender humanism.
A quietly devastating portrayal of family and theft in contemporary Japan.
A tender ensemble piece whose skillful performances dovetail into a perfectly symphonic whole, "Shoplifters" is a work of such emotional delicacy and formal modesty that you're barely prepared when the full force of what it's doing suddenly knocks you sideways.
Some of the credit must go to the stellar casting and performances. It’s difficult to single out one of the six actors in this alternative family unit as it’s a true ensemble display. But Kore-eda’s deft command of tone is a key factor too.
At once charming and heart-wrenching, this exquisitely performed film will steal the hearts of both art-house and mainstream audiences.
It is a movie made up of delicate brushstrokes: details, moments, looks and smiles.
Shoplifters is compassionate, socially conscious filmmaking with a piercing intelligence that is pure Kore-eda. This is a film that steals in and snatches your heart.
By drawing our empathy for such morally dubious and potentially damaging characters, Shoplifters remains a real heartbreaker, the kind of which only this director seems capable.