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Shoplifters Review

23 Dec

The central point about the definitional confines of family is hardly a new one, but the film succeeds because it is so clearly passionate about what matters most: the characters. The societal structures surrounding and confining the characters are certainly present, as they must be, but they are people first before they reflect anything about their society. There’s a delicate balance here throughout that imbues every single scene with both a sense of boundless humanity and helpless unease. You get to know these characters on an intimate level, but there are layers that you know are waiting to be unpeeled, whether for good or for bad. And when it all finally hits, it hits less like a crashing wave and more like a slow, crushing embrace.

I say a lot that films like to live in the little moments, but Shoplifters truly, unashamedly revels in the depths of human affection and connection. Its characters have done their share of shitty things, and they face those consequences. But we also watch them as they live amongst themselves, as they express their love through a tight hug or a shared meal or even a painful confession. It’s all in front of us, unsanitized and so earnestly real, an ode to those of us who feel alone or isolated and the people who make us feel less so.

Also: not enough praise can be heaped upon this cast, particularly the magnetic Sakura Ando. She keeps it all going even if the narrative occasionally stalls.

GRADE: B+/A-

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2 Responses to “Shoplifters Review”

  1. peggyatthemovies December 23, 2018 at 6:03 pm #

    I missed so many screenings in Nov/Dec due to be ill. This was one of them. Thankfully I’m a Indie Spirit Awards member/voter and they do all their nominee screenings in January – and very close to where I live – so I am really looking forward to seeing not only this one, but all the others I missed also. Hope you are well – Happy Holidays!

    • polarbears16 December 25, 2018 at 2:34 pm #

      Will be on the lookout for your review, hope you enjoy. Happy holidays!

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