Film review: Like Father, Like Son (PG)

Film review: Like Father, Like Son (PG)
Cinema still: Like Father, Like Son

Like Father, Like Son (PG)
121 minutes

Rating: 3 and a half out of 5 

Ryota (Masaharu Fukuyama) and Midori (Machika Ono, both right) are an ambitious urban couple pushing themselves and six-year-old son Keita (Keita Ninomiya) up the social ladder. The boy, however, appears to lack the drive found in his father. Then the parents are told shocking news: Keita was swopped with another baby at birth. Should they keep him or fix the mistake and take their biological son, raised by laidback shopkeeper Yudai (Lily Franky) and wife Yukari (Yoko Maki)?

With this work, Japanese writer- director Hirokazu Kore-eda proves that his name should be circulated well outside cineaste circles. Kore-eda is far from being an egghead or abstract artist. This drama dives into the human condition and asks hard questions, ones that upend comfortable notions about the nature of the family unit. The first and most important of them being this: On what basis is parental love given?

He does not provide any answers, but by shaking the biological foundations that underpin two couples' relationships with their sons and seeing what falls out, he shows just how much, and also how little, the idea of "blood relations" matter. 

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