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"You can choose your friends," Harper Lee wrote in her version of the old adage, "but you sho' can't choose your family". The main characters in Hirokazu Kore-eda's "Shoplifters" frequently circle around what connects them to the other members of their family, underlining the matter of choice for a group of individuals who are all orphaned in one way or another. Kore-eda's film is among the more celebrated movies to emerge last year and it is easily the most formally modest and unassuming of the works with which it contended. Both films aim for the same part of the audience's innards telling stories of poor urban families whose poverty pushes them outside the fence of respectability. The household quickly falls for Yuri and she becomes part of the family.By this point it's clear that Osamu and Shota's shoplifting isn't the only family eccentricity.By the time Hatsue and her household have been introduced, it seems Yuri has been taken in by a family of blood relatives. While the story centers on the little girl's integration into the family (she becomes part of Osamu and Shota's shoplifting routine) it's that process of assimilation that reveals the true nature of the characters' relationship.
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