Life's toughest decisions

Life's toughest decisions


Like Father Like Son Movie_L
Photo: Edko Films Ltd.
It's amazing how Japanese director Hirokazu Koreeda can make two family-based movies in a row, yet still keep them fresh. Like Father Like Son - which won the Jury Prize and was nominated for the Palme d'Or at this year's Cannes Film Festival - tells of two boys swapped at birth.

Ryota Nomoniya (Masaharu Fukuyama) is a successful architect who works around the clock and expects his son to work as hard. Six-year-old Keita plays piano, attends tutorial classes which teach him to lie at school interviews, and abides by Japanese etiquette. But there is one problem: Keita doesn't have Nomoniya's gift for wit.

A blood test reveals that Keita is not Nomoniya's child. His biological son, Ryusei, lives with a humble family that owns an electronic shop in a remote suburb. Nomoniya has to decide whether to swap the boys.

What could have been cliche-filled is turned cleverly around, with Koreeda telling the film through mood-setting scenes rather than dramatic dialogue. It almost feels a little experimental, blending a reflection of modern Japanese family life and scenic cinematography.

The grimness of the situation and the life-changing decisions facing Fukuyama are what make Like Father Like Son particularly fascinating. But not even being fascinating and experimental are excuses for dragging out a story.

YP Rating: 4/5

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