The "switched at birth" urban legend and the Nature vs. Nurture debate provide Hirokazu Kore-eda with a fresh opportunity to revisit his ongoing preoccupation with family dynamics and parent-child relationships in contemporary Japan. The life of go-getting workaholic architect Ryota—one of comfort and quietly ordered affluence with his wife Midori and son Keita—is violently overturned when hospital administrators reveal the unthinkable: Keita is not his biological son. Due to a switch at the hospital, his "true" son has been raised in the disheveled but warm-hearted home of working-class shopkeeper Yudai and his wife. The different approaches of both couples to their excruciating dilemma and the gradual emotional awakening of the all-too-rational Ryota are at the core of this sensitive drama of family feeling, which showcases Kore-eda’s rich sense of humanity.
Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes
[Kore-eda] pokes some fun at class differences, but his overall aim is serious - we get a powerful sense of how unsettling it would be to live through such a wrenching event. Remarkably, he conveys this with charm and restraint.Walter V. Addiego, San Francisco Chronicle, 02.13.2014
Like Father, Like Son is always wise about the quandary faced by the two fathers and the two mothers.Bill Stamets, Chicago Sun-Times, 01.31.2014
[A] moving drama, one of the best to date from Japanese writer-director Hirokazu Kore-eda.Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, 01.31.2014
If you've seen Hirokazu Koreeda's films - Nobody Knows, Still Life, I Wish - then just the announcement that a new one, Like Father, Like Son, has arrived is all you need to know.Steven Rea, Philadelphia Inquirer, 02.13.2014