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Critic’s Choice: Hirokazu Kore-eda’s ‘Shoplifters’ will steal your heart

Critic’s Choice: Hirokazu Kore-eda’s ‘Shoplifters’ will steal your heart
Sakura Ando, Mayu Matsuoka, Miyu Sasaki, Kairi Jyo and Lily Franky in the movie "Shoplifters." (Magnolia Pictures)

Hirokazu Kore-eda’s “Shoplifters” may be the fullest realization of one of this great Japanese director’s most persistent ideas, namely that loving families come in all shapes and sizes. If that sounds too sentimental by half, it scarcely does justice to this stealthily layered, quietly overwhelming story about six people huddling together in a small Tokyo apartment, brought together not by the bonds of blood but rather by the imperatives of survival.

Set to arrive Tuesday on DVD and digital HD (via Amazon Video and iTunes), “Shoplifters” won the Palme d’Or at Cannes last May and is up for the Oscar for best foreign-language film; if the motion picture academy really took world cinema seriously, it would be up for a lot more.

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The movie’s flawless ensemble is anchored by Lily Franky and a devastating Sakura Ando as the family’s two parental figures, and also features one of the final screen appearances of veteran actress Kirin Kiki, one of Kore-ada’s greatest collaborators.

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