Like Father, Like Son is a 2013 Japanese drama film directed by Hirokazu Koreeda, starring Masaharu Fukuyama, Machiko Ono, Keita Nonomiya, Shôgen Hwang, Yōko Maki, and Lily Franky.
Ryota Nonomiya (Fukuyama) is a businessman, driven so much by money and success that he neglects his wife, Midori (Ono), and son, Keita (Nonomiya). One day the couple learn that Keita had been accidentally switched at birth with their biological son Ryusei (Hwang). When DNA tests prove the error, they must now make a life-changing decision to either keep Keita, the boy they raised as their own, or switch him for their biological son.
Ryota and Midori meet with the other couple, Yukari Saiki (Maki) and Yudai Saiki (Franky), a family short on money and ambition, but abundant with love and a clear understanding of the importance of child and parent bonds. They share photos, and for the first time, Ryota and Midori see their biological son, Ryusei.
After several meetings, they couples decide to switch children for one day, which goes well. After several further meetings, they decide to exchange their children. As all involved struggle in various ways with their new lives, including a mutually profound sense of loss, the film explores the complex dynamics of the situtation with some deeply moving, gentle and funny moments.
The film won the Jury Prize and a commendation from the Ecumenical Jury at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival. Andrew Chan of the Film Critics Circle of Australia writes, “Essentially, Like Father, Like Son is one of those rare films that keep the audience totally engaged; it is thoroughly profound, fully emoted and ultimately refreshing. In the scale of perfect cinema, this stands quite close.”
And Robbie Collin of The Telegrapph wrote: “Like Father, Like Son’s overflowing heart: the film shows that just as men father sons, so sons can turn their fathers into men. Kore-eda has crafted a piercing, tender poem about the bittersweet ebb and flow of paternal love…”
Superb acting throughout… a feast for the eyes and the heart.