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Like Father, Like Son

Like Father, Like Son

Japan 2013 - with Masaharu Fukuyama, Machiko Ono, Keita Ninomiya, Lily Franky, Yoko Maki ...

The Frankfurt-Tipp rating:

Movie info

Original title:Soshite chichi ni naru
Direction:Hirokazu Kore-eda
Cinema release:25.09.2014
Production country:Japan 2013
Running time:Approx. 120 min.
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Ryota Nonomiya (Masaharu Fukuyama) is actually convinced he has the perfect life. He is a successful architect and lives with his wife Midori (Machiko Ono) and their son Keita (Keita Ninomiya) in a nice apartment in Tokyo. But the family happiness is abruptly shattered when Ryota and Midori learn that the boy they thought was their child for six years is not their biological son, as two babies were switched at the hospital where Keita was born at the time. Their real son Ryusei (Shogen Hwang) lives in very simple circumstances with the grocer Yudai Saiki (Lily Franky), his wife Yukari (Yoko Maki) and their children. Both sets of parents are now faced with the difficult question of what matters more: Blood ties or the six years they've spent with the kids. Is it the best decision for the boys to tear them away from their familiar surroundings? And which decision are they most likely to be able to live with as parents?

Like Father, Like Son is not the first film to tackle the issue of switched children. But it is not only its sober and thus very realistic staging that makes this drama a particularly intense experience. Director Hirokazu Kore-eda's decision to depict the events almost entirely from the point of view of a father like Ryota also gives the story a special touch. Ryota has built the perfect life for himself, and he's not ready to give that up. His reaction to the realization that Keita might not be his son is therefore not really emotional at first, but rather rational. He has invested in the boy's upbringing and he wants that investment to pay off now. That's why he would be willing to just accept both boys as his children - which would actually be the best thing for the kids, given the fact that Yudai Saiki can hardly offer his family anything anyway.

Now, however, he gradually has to realize that you can't measure your love for a child by how well he plays the piano or how good his table manners are. The emotional level, which is now up for grabs here, is implemented by Hirokazu Kore-eda without any overdone kitsch or overly inflated drama. As a result, the story feels extremely close to reality, which almost automatically forces the viewer to identify with the characters and ask himself the question: What would I do? And once you've asked yourself that question, you realize the full drama of this story - because there simply can't be any winners here.

Like Father, Like Son deals with a very difficult subject, but - aside from its sustained pace - it's not heavy fare. Hirokazu Kore-eda has staged the story in a very accessible way, so that it has become absolutely worth seeing not only for lovers of Asian arthouse fare, but for everyone who is interested in sophisticated dramas. A small program cine-opera that makes you think and probably leaves no one really cold

An article by Frankfurt-Tipp


  • Like Father, Like Son
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Cinema trailer for the movie "Like Father, Like Son (Japan 2013)"
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