"No Moral Compass"
What You Need To Know:
SHOPLIFTERS won the 2018 Cannes Film Festival and is the Japanese Foreign Film entry for this year’s Oscars ceremony. SHOPLIFTERS is a beautifully crafted but sad look into the lives of a family of criminals have a lot of good and love in their hearts. Despite this, there’s absolutely no moral compass or governing set of moral values guiding the characters. SHOPLIFTERS also contains some sexual content and nudity.
SHOPLIFTERS is an award-winning Japanese movie about an unconventional family of criminals in Tokyo that takes in a young girl they find on the street.
The movie begins as Osamu and his little boy, Shota, are returning from a routine shoplifting trip at the grocery store. They celebrate their success at thievery by stopping at a bakery and having some croquettes. On their way home, they see a little girl on the porch of a house in the cold. Feeling concerned for the child, Osamu offers her a croquette and takes her home with them. His wife, Nobuyo, is reluctant to accept the child, as they already have quite a full house, with little means to be able to provide. However, when they return to her house to leave her with her rightful parents, they hear how violent the home is and decide that the little girl, Juri, is safer and better off with them.
As the adults go to work and about their business, Shota takes Juri under his wing and begins to teach her also how to successfully shoplift. One day at his construction job, Osamu gets injured and is unable to work, without any workers compensation. Around the same time, Nobuyo’s job is making cutbacks. She’s one of the higher paid workers, along with another woman. The woman knows that Nobuyo has Juri and threatens to report her to the police if she jeopardizes her job.
Now, Nobuyo and Osamu are both jobless, relying on scams and stealing as the only means of survival. However, when their grandmother dies in her sleep in the house, they see that as another form of income. The grandmother had her own secret schemes, and after they bury her themselves in the back of the house, Nobuyo cleans out her grandmother’s bank account and buys herself and Shota sodas.
As Shota grows older, he starts to see how the things the family is doing are wrong. He’s beginning to regret teaching Juri how to be a criminal, because she was only 5-years-old. One day, they are in the grocery store together, and he sees her start to put a bag in her pocket. Seeing a clerk nearby, he covers for her, knocking over things on the shelf, taking a bag of oranges, and running for it. The clerk begins to chase after him, and Juri after both of them. Running himself into a corner, Shota has nowhere to go. He takes the only way out, jumping over a bridge onto the street.
In the hospital, Osamu and Nobuyo claim to be his parents to the police officer, but don’t stay for long, for fear that they will be caught. They rush home, pack up all that they can carry and try to make a run for it.
SHOPLIFTERS is the Oscar entry for Japan, as well as a winner of the Palme d’Or at the Cannes International Film Festival. The movie is a slice of life story. Viewers are given a look into the lives of this unconventional family that commits crimes daily, but also has so much love to give. They live happily together, loudly slurping their noodles and trying to make the next day better than the last.
SHOPLIFTERS is a visual discussion of ethics and morals, testing the limits of right and wrong. However, there’s little to no moral compass guiding any character, as well as an excessive amount of sexual content, this movie borders on excessively immoral. Besides the innumerable crimes committed throughout, there is no guilt or remorse for them, but celebration when they succeed. Movieguide warrants extreme caution when considering SHOPLIFTERS.