Shoplifters (2018)


It’s complicated yet simple. It’s simple because it’s about a family of 6 people who struggle to make both ends meet


Language:  Japanese

Director: Hirokazu Koreeda

Writer:  Hirokazu Koreeda (original story), Hirokazu Koreeda (screenplay)

Cast: Lily Franky, Sakura Andô, Kirin Kiki 

Genre: Crime | Drama

IMDb: Shoplifters (2018)

Streaming on Netflix.     

It’s complicated yet simple. It’s simple because it’s about a family of 6 people who struggle to make both ends meet and they shoplift whatever they need in order to survive. And it’s complicated because of the relationship between the family members. ‘Shoplifters’ is one of those rare movies that leaves a lot to the interpretation of the viewers. Whether you like the movie or not depends largely on how you interpret it.

There are 3 different generations in the family who co-exist under a roof while being anxious about the morality of their actions. What I admired the most about the movie is how they show the intricacies of thought process in plain sight. There are many quotes that make us realise how we have been blinded by the norms of the society which often deprive people of emotional wealth. Sometimes what is legally wrong, could turn out to be ethically right and that’s the very basis of the narrative. For instance, even though shoplifting is illegal, it is also the reason why the family survives. There are multiple cross-lines drawn between the characters which give the narrative its share of irony. The casting is superbly done and it couldn’t have been better. The pace of the movie might seem like a drag upto the halfway-mark, but towards the end, you would wish if the movie had been a bit longer.

“Sometimes you choose your family.”
Verdict: 6/7 Stars.



The original title of the film, Manbiki Kazoku, literally translates as Shoplifting Family.

The movie won Palme d’Or at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival and was also nominated for Best International Film at the Academy Awards.

After winning the Jury Prize on the Croisette in 2013 for Like Father, Like Son (2013), Koreeda left with the supreme award, the Palme d’Or, for “Shoplifters”, five years later.

First Japanese movie to win the Palme d’Or since The Eel (1997) in 1997.


Namitha Girijan

Makes business presentations for a living. Otherwise, a writer. Lover of great stories and good food. Check out Namitha's movie page on Instagram @girl_watching_movies.

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