User Score
7.1

Generally favorable reviews- based on 14 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 14
  2. Negative: 2 out of 14

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  1. May 3, 2014
    8
    I heard about this movie a few months ago but totally forgot about it, but then i saw it pass by, i decided to buy it and see how it was.
    And i wasn't disappointed, this movie is so Beautiful and moving i didn't really know how to feel after this movie, sad, happy, depressed, I really didn't know.

    The acting is great you really start to feel strong emotions towards certain characters.

    If you like a movie with great writing and acting this is a must see, you'll love every minute of it.
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  2. Apr 3, 2014
    7
    ‘Can you really love a child without your blood’?

    What would you be willing to do for a child you barely know and never helped raise? This question haunts parents everywhere and is the main focus of Hirokazu Koreeda’s newest film Like Father, Like Son; a gut-wrenching family drama set on the basis of mixed identities, unwanted truths and the indefinite definition of happiness. Winner of
    the Jury Prize at Cannes in 2013, Koreeda’s newest feature is sure to stir a pot full of mixed emotions.

    Ryota Nonomiya (Masaharu Fukuyama) is a determined Japanese business executive. He humbly avoids the spotlight, instead allowing his incomparable work ethic and determination to take the spotlight. He is irreplaceable professionally, but his marital life is in turmoil and he suffers failing relationships with his wife Midori (Machiko Ono) and son Keita (Keita Nonomiya). Ryota despises messy situations, so when he returns home to news of a phone call from the local hospital where their son was born, his only request is that developments won’t be messy.

    After extensive tests, Ryota and his wife learn that their son Keita was switched with another boy at birth. Ryota shelves his instinct to find out who and what is behind this mistake, and meets with the Saiki’s (Rirî Furankî and Yôko Makiwho), the people who have been raising Ryusei Saiki (Shôgen Hwang), Ryota’s son by blood.

    Devastated and determined to come up with a plan to ‘exchange’ the boys swiftly and without much emotional damage, the families agree to start switching the boys on weekends, gradually acclimatizing them to each of their new home environments.

    Although the film is set with the anticipation that the lives of both sets of parents would be showcased, Like Father, Like Son sets its sights on the Nonomiya family, focusing on Ryota; a professional who is driving his family up the class ladder in a socially driven Japan. Koreeda takes you through the different struggles of accepting the truth. At first, the Nonomiyas struggle with the reality of raising a son that is not their own. They then contemplate how they could fail to notice different physical features between father and son, suffering the cruelty of those who did notice. Ryota is the main focus of Koreeda’s scrutinizing observation while his wife Midori is left at the wayside. Koreeda seems fascinated by the idea of such a powerful and determined man grappling with such a rare, indescribable situation where no obvious victory is clear.

    Perhaps Koreeda sees a lot of himself in Ryota; the story is supposedly set around recent real-life events, although, the specifications of these factual events are never brought into the spotlight. For most of the movie, Ryota tries to fix his problems with his power, status and wealth. He immediately enlists the help of his old roommate, a powerful lawyer who wants to diffuse the situation as quickly and painlessly as possible, without ever providing Ryota with any emotional or paternal comfort. Like almost everyone in the Nonomiya family, Ryota must face the situation alone.

    Once Ryota takes the reigns on figuring out how to handle the situation, he finds that real power lies in his ability to connect with his family and disconnect from his professional life. As stern and composed as Ryota remains, he reveals himself to the audience as the most cowardly in the film by always looking to his professional life as a distraction from the conflicts in his personal life.

    In the first meeting between the parents, Koreeda introduces us to a blend of very bizarre comic relief, for a very morbid concept of grief. The majority of the comedy comes from the other father, Yudai (Furankî), an appliance repair man whose mantra in life is in stark contrast to Ryota. Yudai would rather put off a task until tomorrow. His initial idea to exchange the children as if they were simply pets, sets up a very optimistic man, but also a very flawed character. Yudai is anything but an absent father, spending most of his days making minimal sales at his shop (which also serves as the Saiki’s home), and fixing battery powered toys or flying kites with his children. Yudai is the man Ryota never wants to be, while also showing us the man Ryota never could be.

    Aside from their ambitions, the two families also differ greatly socially and economically. While the obviously lower classed family take baths together and spends their days playing together, the other family lives in an apartment that resembles a high class hotel. These little but quite obvious social differences also exhibits the film’s implicit question of nature versus nurture. It allows audiences to question whether the social classes of the families should matter, especially when talking about Keita going to the Saiki’s home. These small differences in their upbringing are never highlighted, but are always left lingering in the back of your mind.
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  3. Feb 17, 2014
    9
    The characters in this film seem very real - the workaholic father learns a great deal from the less affluent couple. Although the general construct (babies switched at birth) may seem like an urban legend, the great writing and acting kept me enthralled.
  4. Jul 15, 2014
    9
    It’s hard to fault any filmmakers who approach a switched-at-birth tale with melodrama or humor in mind because the situation is ripe for either. That Koreeda deftly avoids it is a testament to his skills as both a screenwriter and a director. That’s not to say there is no drama; there is plenty of it. But it’s delicate and nuanced and looks deeper into parenting than the shock/reaction/aftermath approach of lesser films. Those lesser films are meant to be simply consumed; Like Father, Like Son is meant to be savored. Expand
Metascore
73

Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33
  1. Reviewed by: Geoff Pevere
    Mar 6, 2014
    75
    While the case could be made that Koreeda is merely replicating the world as the blinkered Ryota sees it, the disparity between the characters’ development still leaves you feeling slightly cheated, if only because you want to see more of what this truly gifted student of human behaviour might do with them.
  2. Reviewed by: Marc Mohan
    Feb 27, 2014
    67
    If Like Father, Like Son had set up a genuine conflict here, this could have been a fascinating, even gut-wrenching, melodrama. Instead, writer-director Hirokazu Kore-eda stacks the deck by making Ryota such a highfalutin jerk and Yudai such an exemplar of cozy, loving family life.
  3. Reviewed by: Marjorie Baumgarten
    Feb 19, 2014
    78
    This Japanese film by that country’s preeminent surveyor of contemporary familial relationships explores humanity’s ambivalence regarding the matter.