Like Father, Like Son
The "switched at birth" urban legend and the Nature-vs.-Nurture debate provide Hirokazu Kore-eda with a fresh opportunity to revisit his ongoing preoccupation with family dynamics and parent-child relationships in contemporary Japan. The life of go-getting workaholic architect Ryota (Masaharu Fukuyama)—one of comfort and quietly ordered affluence with his wife Midori (Ono Machiko) and son Keita (Keita Ninomiya)—is violently overturned when hospital administrators reveal the unthinkable: Keita is not his biological son. Due to a mistake made by a negligent nurse, his "true" son has been raised in the dishevelled but warm-hearted home of working-class shopkeeper Yudai (Lily Franky) and his wife (Yôko Maki). The different approaches of both couples to their excruciating dilemma and the gradual emotional awakening of the all-too-rational Ryota are at the core of this sensitive drama of family feeling, which showcases Kore-eda’s rich sense of humanity.