Shoplifters

LetterboxD review link

What an incredible film. After leaving, we went across the street to grab a drink and while talking about the movie, and teared up all over again. Shoplifters is one of those beautiful films that introduces you to a new family, makes you fall in love with them, and care for them like your own family, and then hits you with a full dose of sad. I can’t even be mad about films like this. The overwhelming feeling is one of thankfulness, that I got to fall in love.

The focus on family, in this film, is rightly on a set of feelings, responsibilities, attitudes and behaviors rather than anything specific about genes or homes. Too often, our cultural understanding of family over-values genes, history, home life and legal formulations of “family” without enough balancing out of the rest of what family means. I don’t meant to suggest that this family is perfect or better than any other family, just that this film helps round out “family” in a really satisfying way. Especially as I’m getting older, learning more about my family, expanding my role as a son, embracing my role as a future member of my own new family, and member of new families I’m picking up along the way, I’m more interested in expanding my understanding of what this word means.

I also liked thinking about the fact that this was among the first times I’ve seen downardly mobile or lower class Japanese characters depicted on screen. The effects of the Lost Decade will make their way through art, and I’m interested to see more of these stories shared with the world – to complicate and broaden the lens through which the world sees Japan.