Like Father, Like Son

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The latest film by Hirokazu Kore-Eda (Nobody Knows, Afterlife), winner of the Jury Prize at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, is a thoughtful, heartfelt story about the bonds of family. Two couples with 6-year-old sons learn the shocking news that their sons were switched at the hospital. Both families are faced with the dilemma of whether to keep their respective children or swap them. What is more important – blood or affection, nature or nurture? Ryota (Masaharu Fukuyama), handsome and successful, is a driven architect who spends little time with his wife and son, although he provides all the best for them. In contrast, financially struggling Yudai (Rirî Furankî) is a slovenly shopkeeper whose motto is “Put off until tomorrow everything you can,” but who spends more time with his family, which includes additional siblings. The two families arrange gatherings for their children to mingle, and begin a trial system of exchanging the boys on weekends, but all does not go smoothly. Reminiscent of the classic work of Yasujirō Ozu, Like Father, Like Son is a subtle and moving drama, seasoned with wit and warmth. (Dir. by Hirokazu Kore-Eda, 2013, Japan, in Japanese with English subtitles, 122 mins., Not Rated, Sundance Selects) Digital