Shirkers (2018)


Critic Consensus: Shirkers uses one woman's interrogation of a pivotal personal disappointment to offer affecting observations on creativity, lost opportunity, and coming to terms with the past.


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Movie Info

Shirkers was a Singapore-made 1992 cult classic from teenage friends Sandi Tan, Jasmine Ng and Sophie Siddique--or it would have been, had the 16mm footage not been stolen by their enigmatic American collaborator Georges Cardona. More than two decades after Cardona disappeared, Tan, now a novelist in L.A., returns to the country of her youth and to the memories of a man who both enabled and thwarted her dreams. Magically, too, she returns to the film itself, revived in a way she never could have imagined.

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Critic Reviews for Shirkers

All Critics (58) | Top Critics (17)

What Tan has given us is an incredible, sui generis tribute to the international lingua franca of D.I.Y. cinempowerment.

Dec 26, 2018 | Rating: 4/5 | Full Review…

It's a charming, wistful movie, and I trust Tan will not have to wait another 20 years to direct her next film.

Dec 7, 2018 | Rating: B+ | Full Review…

The movie is many things at once.

Nov 28, 2018 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

A movie that maintains its forward momentum all the while it's looking back.

Oct 26, 2018 | Full Review…

A knotty detective yarn, a funny valentine to Singapore and one of the year's most ardent expressions of movie love, it tells a story of cinematic theft, and in the process, becomes an entrancing feat of cinematic reclamation.

Oct 26, 2018 | Full Review…

There is a sense of relief at the end of the documentary that feels like the first big breath of fresh air after stepping out of a therapist's office.

Oct 26, 2018 | Rating: 4/4 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Shirkers


For anyone with artistic ambitions who feel as if nothing ever goes their way or that they'll never achieve the level of success they desire Shirkers offers an anxiety-inducing set of circumstances that, at the very least, immediately lets you know you're not alone...which is simultaneously comforting and unnerving given it means there's one more person out there who has your same dream, but may very well be more talented and therefore more deserving. It's difficult to not get caught up in the immense anger and confusion our narrator must be trying to work through knowing a different life path might have been readily accessible, but was stolen from her unfairly and ultimately led to a life of confusion and apprehension. It's also brave of writer/director Sandi Tan to so willingly embrace who she was twenty-five years earlier-as a precocious child-but Shirkers is very clearly Tan's attempt to work through that anxiety and regret that she can't even be blamed for; an attempt to make some sense of why her life took the course it did. Lastly, while every film is a time capsule in its own sense, it is striking how much the footage of Tan's first feature actually evokes so much of that time period and makes it both a nostalgic trip down memory lane while also radiating this ethereal quality as if to somewhat convince viewers it was all a fantastic dream anyway.

Philip Price
Philip Price

Super Reviewer

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