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shoplifters of the world

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‘Shoplifters of the World’ review: This night has opened my eyes

I’m not sure what happiness means.

Full disclosure: The Smiths are my favorite band of all time.

Shoplifters of the World is a coming of age story that revolves around the break up of iconic 1980s Britpop band The Smiths. The film takes place in 1987 in Denver. A group of friends hang out for what may be their last time together. Meanwhile, a fan holds a local radio DJ hostage providing the group their soundtrack for the night.

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The Smiths were known for having one of the most rabid fanbases of the era. Shoplifters of the World captures the essence of the fanbase perfectly. The manner of dress, speaking in song titles, even the bedroom walls covered in posters and stickers. It is nostalgic and accurate. For many, The Smiths were more than just their favorite band; they were a way of life.

Shoplifters of the World goes beyond Smiths fandom, however. Music is a powerful part of life and can have a huge impact on people. Full Metal Mickey (Joe Manganiello) may be the most aware person in the film. He is funny and insightful and is quick to drop nuggets of wisdom. (Bonus points for a great part about how the people you look up will eventually disappoint you. *cough* Morrissey *cough*)

Interspersed in the movie are clips of concert footage and interviews of The Smiths. While fans will enjoy it, they do not add to Shoplifters of the World. Breaking the movie into parts like an album is a neat touch, however. The premise of Shoplifters of the World is a fun one. The characters have a tendency to fall into tropes and do not seem fleshed out as they could be. With the exception of Mickey, they do not go beyond quoting Smiths’s lyrics. Ultimately, this may be the point of the entire film: growing beyond being more than half a person.

Shoplifters of the World premieres in theaters, on demand, and on digital March 26

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