(Reviewed by John Glennie)
Japanese movie, produced by Hirokazo Koreeda, about a family of small-time crooks who take in a child they find on the streets.
To survive, the father Osamu Shibata (Lily Franky – “Like Father, Like Son”, “The Devil’s Path”), teaches his son Shota (Jyo Kairi) to shoplift. The father acts as a decoy or shield while Shota pockets the goods which the father later sells so they can buy food.
After one small heist they come across a young girl who is cold and hungry so they take her home and feed her. When grandma (Kirin Kiki) discovers she is covered in scars they decide to take her back home before they get in trouble with the police. However, when outside her home, they hear a lot of arguing and a fight with both parents saying they don’t want the girl. They decide it would be dangerous for the girl, Yuri (Miyu Sasaki), to go back home so they take her in.
Yuri learns the “art” of shoplifting from Shota and soon becomes entrenched in the family. Life changes for them all when grandma is found dead one morning. They cannot afford to pay for an ambulance to take her so decide to bury her in their yard. Soon after, Shota has an accident while being chased buy shop assistants after a shoplifting episode.
With the police involved, the true identities of the children are discovered as well as the fate of the grandmother. While being questioned, Osamu is asked why he taught the children to shoplift, he sadly replied that he didn’t know anything else to teach them!
Yuri is returned to her real parents but you get the strong feeling that she would much rather be with her foster parents.
A nice movie, but at times I struggled to understand what message was behind it – if there was supposed to be one!