Like Father, Like Son
(Soshite chichi ni naru)
Marilyn Fabe is the author of Closely Watched Films and was the longtime teacher for the popular BAMPFA lecture/screening series Film 50: History of Cinema.
Masaharu Fukuyama, Machiko Ono, Yoko Maki, Lily Franky,
One of Kore-eda’s greatest abilities is using the simplest of narratives to conjure up the most complex and sublime of human emotions, and this tale hinging on a classic babies-switched-at-birth plot serves as a particularly moving example. A hospital mix-up years ago has left two sons to be raised in opposite homes; on one side is the orderly, almost antiseptic space of an affluent architect and his wife, and on the other, the unpretentious chaos of an unassuming shopkeeper’s household. Inspired by Kore-eda becoming a father, this heart-rending look at the nature-vs.-nurture dynamic examines what it means to be a parent, and to truly love. “At what point does a father truly become a father?” Kore-eda wrote. “All of my quandaries and questions and, indeed, regrets—this is the first time I have poured these emotions so candidly into the protagonist of a film.”