Jan 29, 2019
Welcome back to another Takeover Tuesday, this time with a brand new reviewer for the podcast. Keith Lyons, aka @PhillyFilmFan on Twitter, has been a loyal fan of the podcast since the beginning, and I served in the trenches of the 2017 #DLMChallenge with him. He’s currently going for another 365 movies this year, which you can track with the #365Movies hashtag, and hopefully we can get him to review a few along the way.
Especially films like “Shoplifters” from Hirokazu Koreeda, one of the best filmmakers working in Japan today. You can check out my review for “After the Storm” (Episode #392), which we recently re-ran from last year in anticipation of today’s review, and if you have any suggestions, let us know over social media, or at the website, onemoviepunch.com, where you can also find more information on how YOU can join the fun here on Takeover Tuesday.
Take it away, Keith!
Philly Film Fan here to break free from the bounds of Twitter, and make my podcast debut, with my first review for One Movie Punch.
Today’s movie is “Shoplifters” (2018), the film written and directed by Hirokazu Koreeda. This social drama follows the Shibatas, a family sharing a Tokyo apartment so small that the youngest sleeps in what appears to be a closet. Shoplifters won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival last year and was the fourth highest-grossing film of 2018 in its native Japan.
Osamu, the patriarch of the Shibata family, played by Lily Franky, has suffered an injury that makes it difficult for him to find work. To supplement the family income, he has enlisted his young son Shota, played by Kairi Jō, into helping him shoplift food and other necessities, like shampoo. The two work together using hand signals to pull off carefully-choreographed grocery-store heists. Although Osamu is training his son to be a criminal, he takes pains to set a good example. He tells Shota that they can only take items from a store because they do not belong to anyone yet, otherwise it would be stealing.
The rest of the family members also do what they can to contribute. Nobuyo, the matriarch, played by Sakura Ando, works at a laundry service where she rifles through the pockets of garments looking for cash or other valuables left by absent-minded customers. Meanwhile Aki, played by Mayu Matsuoka, monetizes her youth and beauty by working as an exotic dancer. Even with every member of the household working, the Shibata family would not be able to survive without the meager pension provided by grandmother Hatsue, played by Kirin Kiki. All of this might sound like poverty porn, but Koreeda is careful to show how the Shibatas are able to find contentment in their lives by having compassion for one another.
The Shibata family may be struggling but they are surviving. However, an act of kindness, early in the film, will begin a sequence of events that challenges the delicate balance of a family living on the edge. Osamu will invite an underfed girl, Yuri, played by Miyu Sasaki, to join them for dinner. Soon the family discovers that Yuri is living in an abusive home. Nobuyo insists that they return Yuri to her family but when they approach her house Nobuyo overhears her parents fighting and cannot bear to go through with it. They bring Yuri back to the Shibata household, give her a haircut and re-name her Lin. It is a rash decision, driven by emotion, and it brings consequences.
“Shoplifters” (2018), on one level, is a scathing critique of the social safety net in Japan. However, the film’s emotional resonance comes from its beautiful but melancholy portrait of a family. This film is not for viewers who need the backstory presented in a tidy, digestible package. Shoplifters rewards patience; it subtly reveals itself over the course of two hours. For viewers who are inspired by the bittersweet lives of complex characters and want to see a finely attuned portrait of humanity, Shoplifters is magical.”
Rotten Tomatoes:99% (CERTIFIED FRESH)
Metacritic: 93 (MUST SEE)
One Movie Punch: 9.5/10
“Shoplifters” (2018) is rated R and is currently playing in select theaters.
This jawn was brought to you by Philly Film Fan. For more movie reviews, follow me on Twitter @PhillyFilmFan where I’m participating in the #365Movies challenge. That’s @-P-H-I-L-L-Y-F-I-L-M-F-A-N.