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Daily Helping for March 14th, 2021 – Shoplifters

A photo still from the movie Shoplifters, taken from behind, of the main family all holding hands and jumping into the water at the beach.

Yesterday’s film was all feel good family fun. Today’s film couldn’t be more different. Which is ironic, because at its heart, Shoplifters is all about family. It’s also about a lot of other things, and all of it brilliant. It is a poignant, beautiful, and deeply layered film. It’s heart-wrenching and devastating, it stays with you long after the credits roll, and it forces you to think and reflect on what you’ve just seen. And it’s easily one of the best films I’ve seen in years.

I know that I’ve linked the trailer above, but I would actually encourage you to not watch it. Instead, go into this movie fresh. That’s what I did, and after watching the trailer just now, I’m convinced it gives far too much of the plot away. One of the many, many joys of this film is not knowing what is coming next. I wouldn’t say there are a lot of plot twists in the traditional sense. But the narrative does take some twists and turns that would absolutely be best experienced without any foreknowledge.

That said, if you want at least some idea of what you’re in for, I will give this brief summary. Shoplifters is about a group of people who scrape by a living on the fringes of Tokyo. And that’s it. That’s all you’re going to get from me, because again, this is a film best simply experienced. I promise you it is worth it. Shoplifters is hands down one of the best films I’ve ever seen about what it means to be a family. Everything about it is stunning, including one particularly devastating line of dialogue that reduced me to a sobbing mess. And it is achingly intelligent about everything it is trying to say. When watching the trailer just now, I actually teared up a bit just remembering how good this film is. I absolutely cannot recommend it enough.

Suggestions for artists I should check out? Please contact me with your ideas. I hope you enjoyed your daily helping of art!