REVIEW: Like Father, Like Son

30 06 2014

Like Father Like SonThe title of the film “Like Father, Like Son” might lead you to think its as banal and thoughtless as the clichéd phrase from which it derives its name.  That couldn’t be farther from the truth about the movie, however.  Kore-Eda Hirokazu’s masterfully observed and delicately realized familial drama is one of the most thought-provoking films I have ever had the privilege to see.

Hirokazu begins with a somewhat well-established premise of nature vs. nature, but there’s nothing familiar about where he ultimately takes us in “Like Father, Like Son.”  The lives of two families, the wealthy Nonomiyas and the working-class Saikis, are upended when it is revealed that their six-year-old sons were switched in the hospital.

Where to go from there presents the first of many wrenching dilemmas faced by the characters.  As their comfortable patterns of life are shattered, everyone affected is forced to rethink what exactly it means to be a parent and a child.  To be fair, it’s more about what it means to be a father, although that shouldn’t preclude any gender from grappling with the questions raised by the film.

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