Director: Hirokazu Koreeda
Writer: Hirokazu Koreeda (Screenplay)
Starring: Masaharu Fukuyama, Machiko Ono, Yoko Maki, Lily Franky, Keita Ninomiya, Shogen Hwang
Plot: Ryota is a successful workaholic businessman. When he learns that his biological son was switched with another boy after birth, he faces the difficult decision to choose his true son or the boy he and his wife have raised as their own.
Tagline – At what point does a father truly become a father?
Runtime: 2 Hours 1 Minute
There may be spoilers in the rest of the review
Story: Like Father, Like Son starts as workaholic businessman Ryota (Fukuyama) and his wife Midori (Ono) get the shocking news their son Keita (Ninomiya) was swapped by accident at birth, the couple get to meet the couple Yukari (Maki) and Yudai (Franky) who have raised their son Ryusei (Hwang) in a different environment, with both couple facing the difficult decision on whether to swap the children back after creating memories and emotional bonds with them.
We follow both sides as they go through the legal consequences of what happened and look to make the final decision about their own son’s futures.
Thoughts on Like Father, Like Son
Characters – Ryota is the workaholic businessman that has given his family a secure good life with his commitment to his work, which at times means time away from his family, but he will always make time for his son, when he learns the news, he turns to his lawyer in an attempt to try and adopt them both, trying to use his position of money to solve the problem. Midori is Ryota wife who has an emotional bond with their son, she does feel guilt for not knowing it wasn’t her son, and is willing to try an exchange idea, but isn’t comfortable about giving up their son. Yukari and Yudai are the parents that have been raising the other son, they come from a small business family, where the boy is raised with siblings, without the luxuries that Keita has been living with, they do have a much more joint hands on approach to the parenting process.
Performances – Masaharu Fukuyama in the leading role is brilliant, he brings us a man that believes he has everything, only to show how it is slowly falling apart in front of his eyes, needing to find the love a parent would have for a child. Machiko Ono shows us how the mother would feel about the change in her life, with Yoko Maki and Lily Franky showing us a different approach to the parenthood approach.
Story – The story here follows a couple that learn their babies were swapped at the hospital and now they are left with the difficult decision on whether to continue living in the pain of raising someone else’s child or swap the children back only to confuse them about who their real parents are. This is a story that will ask the ultimate question, that will test parenthood to a new level, nobody should be put through, shown in a such complex way, where ever decision is going to change the way everyone involved will live their lives. Such an important story, that almost feels like the best thing to do, would have to not tell anyone the truth and let them all live their lives without knowing the truth.
Settings – The film uses the settings to show the different lives both families have, one is well off, where they can afford the luxuries in life, while the other runs a small shop but feel like they are closer.
Scene of the Movie – The final shot.
Final Thoughts – Like Father, Like Son is a beautifully told movie that will give us the ultimate question about parenthood, through a impossible decision.