Like Father, Like Son

(Japan, 2013, 121 mins, DCP)
In Japanese
CAST Fukuyama Masaharu , Ono Machiko, Maki Yôko
Classification: Unclassified, Membership Required
Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of Canadian art house distributor Mongrel Media


Sep 21 08:15 pm

It’s a nightmare scenario for any family: the unthinkable revelation that a maternity ward mix-up paired off mother with someone else’s child. A terrible mistake at any time, but for the truth to emerge some six years later... What to do with such information? According to the new movie by modern Japanese master Hirokazu Kore-eda (Still Walking; Nobody Knows) almost all parents caught in this rare but not unprecedented situation eventually accept the inevitable, and “swap” the child they have reared for their natural offspring.

Such is the decision arrived at by wealthy careerist Ryota and his wife Midori, and by Yudai and Yukari, the working class couple who will take the boy, Keita, on whom Ryota has previously pinned so many hopes, and in whom he has always been secretly disappointed. Although his style is impeccably understated, Kore-eda mines this rich dramatic seam for the emotional anguish you might expect, along with biting shards of class satire and — as always — a profound compassion for the children at the center of it all. Steven Spielberg has acquired the rights for a US remake.

"Sublimely moving."—Maggie Lee, Variety

’Powered by Kore-eda’s innate restraint and natural empathy, Like Father, Like Son takes these characters to places they never expected to be. It’s unnerving for them, of course, but watching so many hearts hanging in the balance is a rare privilege for us."—Kenneth Turan, LA Times

"Kore-eda has crafted a piercing, tender poem about the bittersweet ebb and flow of paternal love, and his status as Ozu’s heir becomes ever more assured."—Robbie Collin, The Telegraph