Osamu (Franky) and his (presumed) son Shota (Kairi) make ends meet by petty shoplifting, while Osamu’s wife Nobuyo (Ando) steals at work, and (presumed) daughter Aki (Matsuoka) works in a peep show booth. Granny (Kiki) provides the most reliable support, cashing her dead husband’s tiny pension. The family lives in a ramshackle home on the outskirts of Tokyo, but their tight-knit world is turned upside down when they take in Yuri (Sasaki), a neglected little girl they come across in their neighborhood.
Kore-eda continues his focus on children and makeshift families in this slow-burn drama that gently pulls on your heartstrings before tugging them more insistently in the moving and tragic final act. The whole cast shines, with especially strong turns from the two young children who turn in appealingly natural performances. Told with great intimacy and heart, this powerful story turns out to be one of Kore-eda’s best- and that’s saying something.