Parents' Guide to


By Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 16+

Japanese drama about unconventional family has mature themes

Movie R 2018 120 minutes
Shoplifters Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 15+

Based on 1 parent review

age 15+

Shoplifters unite

Excellent movie, this is properly the best movie of 2019, well so far anyway, I haven't seen a better movie this year, I won't spoil it for u by describing what happens, just I recommend u watch this as a neccesity.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1):
Kids say (1):

It's a tribute to director-writer Hirokazu Koreeda's gifts that his film feels simultaneously hopeful and uplifting as well as harsh and depressing. The working-class poor he depicts aren't cliched and downtrodden. They are bright and playful, canny and insightful, thoughtful and philosophical. Older teens will find much to talk about. Yes, the protagonists are scammers, but kind ones who value relationships as much as they value money, and the implication is that everyone is running some kind of scam. The justice system certainly seems like a scam here, if not a downright farce. The so-called good guys do more harm than good. And the bad guys? They collect abused and abandoned children and teach the waifs to shoplift, like Fagin in Oliver Twist, only they aren't threatening or abusive. They're loving and generous.

Shoplifters raises interesting questions about what constitutes a family and who deserves to be a parent. It seems reasonable to ask if terrible biological parents who mistreat their kids should be behind bars instead of the loving "parents," who nurture children. Members of the "family" remark that when you choose your own family, the bond is stronger. In a lovely scene, the family comes outside to listen to fireworks, which are too far away to see, underscoring the way this group has learned to appreciate the gifts they have rather bemoan the ones they lack.

Movie Details

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