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Like Father, Like Son (Sochite Chichi Ni Naru)

Winner - Jury Prize Cannes Film Festival 2013

Like Father, Like Son is set in contemporary Japan and stars Fukuyama Masaharu as wealthy architect Nonomiya Ryota, who lives in an expensive apartment with his wife Midori (Ono Machiko) and their piano-playing, academically gifted six-year-old son Keita (Yukari Keita), who’s being fast-tracked for a prestigious school. However, their world is turned upside down when they receive a call from the hospital and discover that Keita (an only child) was switched at birth with another boy and that their real son has been raised by the Saiki family (Rirî Furankî and Maki Yôko), a loving couple from the poor side of town who run a dilapidated electrician’s shop and have two other young children, both devoted to their older brother. After getting over the initial shock (and banding together to sue the hospital), the couples decide to spend time together, first as a group and then letting the boys stay with their new families for weekend visits, with the goal of eventually swapping them altogether Fukuyama and Rirî are terrific as the contrasting fathers – Ryota is cold, snobbish and emotionally distant, where Yudai is playful, child-like and warm-hearted – while Ono and Maki are equally good as their wives, both of whom have subtly different relationships with their husbands. Similarly, Kore-eda’s reputation for getting extraordinarily natural performances out of children is well established, but he outdoes himself here, particularly in the case of young Yukari Keita – watching him gradually warm to his new family (without fully understanding what’s going on) is powerfully moving. Though nominally centred on Ryota (who’s fairly conventionally set up for redemption), the film takes the time to explore the emotional consequences of their decision for each of the characters – the effect of this is that the focus on the Saiki’s boy Ryusei (Shogen Wang) comes fairly late in the film and whereas Keita adjusts relatively easily, Ryusei, deprived of his siblings and faced with an emotionally distant new father, struggles in heart-breaking fashion. The involving, sharply observed script explores provocative themes of nature versus nurture and the importance of both family and a happy, loving childhood. In addition, despite the seriousness of the central story there are moments of warmth and humour and Kore-eda orchestrates a number of deeply moving scenes (tissues are advised), culminating in an ending that is more or less perfect. – Matthew Turner, ViewLondonOfficial Trailer
Showtimes: 

No screenings currently scheduled.

Directed by: 
Kore-eda Hirokazu
Running Time: 
120
Country(ies): 
Japan
Language: 
Japanese with English Subtitles
Starring: 
Fukuyama Masaharu, Ono Machiko, Maki Yôko, Rirî Furankî, Yukari Keita, Shogen Wang
Screenplay by: 
Kore-eda Hirokazu

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