“I know everything. You’re not a family.”


Kore-eda Hirokazu’s skill, on display here as in Shoplifters, is presenting found families — those cleaved together by choice rather than blood — in a way that feels both natural and intimate, with an excellent cast led by Parasite’s Song Kang-ho. Broker again explores this through good-hearted criminals, in this case a pair who obtain abandonned babies and sell them to families wishing to adopt. The film’s complications arise from two angles: a mother returning to recover her baby and two police officers hunting down the illegal brokers. Kore-eda’s script is compassionate toward the varying reasons for which mothers may make the difficult decision to give up children, whilst exploring the characters’ reasons for having strong views — particularly Dong-Soo upon returning to the orphanage where he grew up. Broker is a gentle, charming film even as the audience knows it cannot end happily for everyone. The dynamic of its makeshift family is not as nuanced as Shoplifters, but Broker is still a highly effective piece of cinema as Kore-eda continues to hone his craft away from the standard fare.