Ryota Nonomiya is a successful businessman driven by money. When he learns that his biological son was switched with another child after birth, he must make a life-changing decision and choose his true son or the boy he raised as his own.
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Would you choose your natural son, or the son you believed was yours after spending 6 years together? Kore-eda Hirokazu, the globally acclaimed director of "Nobody Knows", "Still Walking" and "I Wish", returns to the big screen with another family - a family thrown into torment after a phone call from the hospital where the son was born... Ryota has earned everything he has by his hard work, and believes nothing can stop him from pursuing his perfect life as a winner. Then one day, he and his wife, Midori, get an unexpected phone call from the hospital. Their 6-year-old son, Keita, is not 'their' son - the hospital gave them the wrong baby. Ryota is forced to make a life-changing decision, to choose between 'nature' and 'nurture.' Seeing Midori's devotion to Keita even after learning his origin, and communicating with the rough yet caring family that has raised his natural son for the last six years, Ryota also starts to question himself: has he really been a 'father' all these years.... Written by
Hirokazu Koreeda's Like Father, Like Son is a very emotional movie. One that made me feel for its characters. The film is full of great performances, an interesting soundtrack, and a plot that is easy to understand.
Set in Japan Like Father, Like Son tells the story of Ryota Nonomiya, a successful businessman, who is driven by money more than anything else. Ryota is married to Midori, and has a son named Keita. When Ryota and Midori visit the hospital after receiving a call from them, they learn that Keita is not their biological son. Ryota is forced to choose between keeping the child, or doing the right thing and giving him back to his biological parents. Things are especially complicated for Ryota as Midori is still devoted to Keita, even after learning his true origins.
Like Father, Like Son is a very touching film. It is helped by the performances of the actors. Masaharu Fukuyama gives a very "tame" performance as Ryota. When he learns that his son is not his real child, he doesn't explode. Instead, he keeps his cool, and tries to make the best of it. His performances are especially helped by the script, as on only a few occasions it seems to require him to be truly "emotional". Maciko Ono, who plays his wife, Midori, also gives a very strong performance. Unlike most mothers, she doesn't break down at once after learning that her son isn't actually her biological son. Instead, she considers the possibilities of what might happen to him. These actors along with the rest of the cast are helped by writer and director, Hirokazu Koreeda's script, which is very strong.
One of the most fascinating elements about Like Father, Like Son is that this film is mostly devoid of any real soundtrack. The only bit of music throughout the film is that of a piano. The use of a piano in the film is clearly an attempt to make some of the most emotional scenes in the film, really emotional. Their son, Keita, played piano, and there is even a scene where he does a piano recital. The constant use of piano music is clearly supposed to link the relationship between the mother and father and their "son". For example, one fifteen second scene features Ryota and Midori driving to go see Keita. In this scene, there is no talking, just a shot of the car outside and piano music playing in the background. The piano music feels very haunting in this way, and as a result, the scene becomes emotional.
Although I have had minimal exposure to Japanese culture, I can clearly see that these two characters are real, and not stereotypes of Japanese people. Ryota, for example, clearly goes through a change in character, as he becomes less concerned with money and more concerned about his son. There is real emotion and charm to be found in this movie, and the way director Koreeda guides the family, helps a lot. Like Father, Like Son is a wonderful film, and one that many can relate to.
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