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‘Shoplifters’ manages to steal the hearts of moviegoers

Left to right: Sakura Ando, Mayu Matsuoka, Miyu Sasaki, Kairi Jo, and Lily Franky star in “Shoplifters” IMDb website photo

With an incredible cast and immersive storytelling, “Shoplifters” delivers one of the most poignant films about family and love.

“Shoplifters,” directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda, revolves around a Tokyo family living in poverty who shoplift for basic necessities just to get by. When the family brings a young girl named Yuri (Miyu Sasaki), who had been locked out of her apartment by her mother, into their household for one evening, they decide to keep and raise Yuri when they find signs of abuse on her body.


Kore-eda’s latest film is not only one of the best foreign films of the year but also one of the best films of 2018.

One of the things that made this film so unique is in the acting and the characters of the film. Each character, specifically every member of the family, was well written, and they were all fleshed out with distinct personalities. The well-roundedness of the characters cultivated people with relatable traits and qualities that could resonate with many people in the audience.

The authenticity that exuded from these characters truly made me feel immersed in the film. Not often do we see a child actor put on a stellar performance. However, Sasaki’s portrayal of Yuri was not only fantastic but also heart-wrenching and authentic. Never have I seen a child put on such an emotionally intense performance as I did with “Shoplifters.”

Furthermore, what makes “Shoplifters” surreal and captivating is its ability to not shy away from tough subjects, and to display harsh realities that many people must face.

Some of the topics this film displays are child abuse, poverty and moral dilemmas of justifying petty theft. On top of that, this film also embraces that life does not always have happy endings.

“Shoplifters” does an excellent job of using both humor and drama to emphasize these harsh realities and create a surreal cinematic experience that carries a dark and melancholic undertone. The production value of the film and artistic integrity that went into the making of the film is nothing short of perfection, as well.

“Shoplifters” is one of the more memorable cinematic experiences I’ve had in a theater in a long time and I look forward to watching it again in the future.

“Shoplifters” is playing at The Pageant Theater in downtown Chico until Thursday, Jan. 24.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Angel Ortega can be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Angel Ortega, A&E Editor
Angel Ortega is a journalism-news major with a minor in cinema studies. Angel has been on the Orion for four years, serving as both a staff writer and arts & entertainment editor. He enjoys writing artist profiles and film reviews. When he’s not working for the Orion, you can find him at a concert or music festival.

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  • R

    Rio Ahn // Jan 22, 2019 at 7:19 am

    How can you give this review and only give it 4.5 stars? This is jo doubt a 5 star film and in time will go down in history of one the most important and best films of this decade.