Words by Aaron Monopoli
Like Father, Like Son is a Japanese film directed by Kore-Eda Hirokazu. It tugs on the heartstrings and approaches a sensitive story in a dignified manner. The story follows two families brought together by a hospital mix up involving their children.
Nonomiya Ryota (Masaharu Fukuyama) is a pained character who has conflicting feelings about his father and also finds himself with having conflicted feelings about Keita, his 6 year old son. A blood test reveals that Keita and another child were switched at birth, which forces Ryota to delve into issues regarding his father and their relationship as well as exploring the father that he is. Fukuyama’s performance is touching and simultaneously wrenches the heart. The role of Nomiya Midorino (Machiko Ono), Ryota’s wife, adds another element of warmth to this film.
Hirokazu has been nominated for and won many awards for previous films. Like Father, Like Son won the Jury Prize at The Cannes International Film Festival, and has won a number of awards from other film festivals. The camera work is meaningful and provides a soft edge to poignant and deep moments. It’s not overdone, and the imagery works in tandem with the story
Like Father, Like Son is a thoughtful movie. For a foreigner, it’s an interesting look into Japanese culture and society. The characters draw the viewer in and the story is compelling. It’s hard not to feel for the characters as they go up and down on their emotional journeys. This movie is a good pick for those looking for something deep with a focus on family issues. It’s a movie with a mature mind that will leave you with food for thought.