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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hirokazu is the Ozu of our age
Hirokazu could never been accused of being a stylist, his films are traditionally Japanese in their minimalism. In that regard he champions something much more interesting - substance. He takes a vague topic like 'what does it mean to be a father?' and takes it in some trite narrative directions that work consistently thanks to the emotional truth weaved into his script...
Published 7 months ago by Rob Simpson

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3.0 out of 5 stars less than my expectation
I expected a better and more emotional parental struggle. Its plot is foreseen. Just because father discovered that his son took a picture of him secretly and longingly, we, the audience can't follow to a such climax change of father's feeling toward his son. It is better than average Japanese movie, however.
Published 1 month ago by Kats


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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hirokazu is the Ozu of our age, 2 Dec 2013
By 
Rob Simpson "noframeof" (Middlesbrough, England) - See all my reviews
Hirokazu could never been accused of being a stylist, his films are traditionally Japanese in their minimalism. In that regard he champions something much more interesting - substance. He takes a vague topic like 'what does it mean to be a father?' and takes it in some trite narrative directions that work consistently thanks to the emotional truth weaved into his script. There were countless occasions where I laughed at the simple headed honesty of the kids only to be fighting off tears in the next scene. That ability of Hirokazu's to capture the wonderful innocence of childhood is second to none. LIkewise, his ability to evoke tragedy and beauty in the simplest of gestures isn't far behind. Film of the Year material.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars This is a Mission, 12 Feb 2014
This review is from: Like Father, Like Son [DVD] (DVD)
I think that 99.9% of parents would have solved this riddle in one second flat but let's just say that this is Japan and we're in a different culture, so it's not going to be that easy! Nevertheless, it's an awful dilemma for any parent, so we all have to go through this two hours of pain hoping for the right result?
The two men / dads, are like chalk and cheese. One is buried in his career, consumed by his status and position and what he thinks it gives the family? His wife looks after his son! He's not a bad dad but not a very good one either - he's a provider I suppose?
The other dad has simple views on rights and wrongs but is not materialistic in any way; his life revolves around making his children happy as best he can.
The wives and mothers are everything that you would want them to be except for being more forthright and belligerent regarding their, and their sons' situation? I was left with the conclusion that the children were put through too much and unnecessarily so?
This film really does pull on the emotions. The acting by all (especially the children) is first class. Yes, you do feel like shouting at the screen but are compelled to stay to the very end - it's a mission!
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb screenplay, brilliant acting and direction., 17 Dec 2013
By 
R. J. Farrer (London) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Like Father, Like Son [DVD] (DVD)
This wonderful Japanese film deservedly won the 2013 Jury Prize at Cannes. It is the most natural and touching film I've seen this year.
Two boys are placed with the wrong parents just after birth and we join the two families when the boys are six and lawyers are trying to unscramble the mix-up.
Wealthy and ambitious Ryota and Midori have been rearing the biological son of easy-going and biophilous Yudai and Yukari who have themselves raised the hard-driven couple's young boy in a more loving and laissez-faire atmosphere.
Hirokazu Kooreda's direction teases superb acting from the whole cast, including the children. We become so enmeshed with the families that we don't so much 'watch' them as live with them through their dilemma.
This stunning naturalistic film explores so much more than the well-worn nature/nurture debate. It details the personal cost of arch ambition, the meaning of love, duty, attachment and separation.
For me the film turns, not on the axis of the fathers (who tend to dominate screen time) but on the quite extraordinary skill of the two women who must resolve an almost impossible puzzle. In these roles Yoko Maki and Machiko Ono both deserve Oscars.
Peter Bradshaw (Guardian) described the film as "undemanding". I completely disagree, it is compelling viewing. My vote goes with the Jury.
The film will be available from Feb. 2014.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars About a boy. And another boy., 7 May 2014
By 
OEJ - See all my reviews
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This is a Blu-ray only review - no additional DVD is provided. The dialogue is only in Japanese, and the only subtitles are in English.

A little boy named Keito lives with his parents in a luxury apartment in Tokyo - at least, that's what the three of them have been assuming for the past 6 years. His father is a successful and hard-working architect who wants his son to go the best private school, his parental priorities aimed at securing the boy's long-term success. So consumed is he with his work that, although he is not yet conscious of it, he has never really spent much time with his son and although it's undoubtedly a happy household, father and son have never truly bonded. Then comes devastating news from the hospital where Keito was born. He is not their son at all.

This is an intelligent, moving and thought-provoking drama that is likely to make you wonder what you would do in the same situation. Although there are four parents involved, the emphasis of the story is on the evolving reactions of Keito's father. In many ways it's a learning experience for him, not in the obvious sense of discovering that his son is not his own, but in the ways in which he gradually comes to realise what being a father should be, and how different this could be from his previous concept of fatherhood. The acting is outstanding across the cast, including that of the two 6 year old boys, the script is spot-on and while it gives each person the chance to give vent to their different emotions it is never melodramatic and at all times utterly convincing. The story opens a window into two very different worlds of parenthood, in essence represented by a couple who have a lot of money and another who have very little. There's much more to it than that, however.

Directed by the acclaimed Hirokazu Koreeda, this film received the Prix du Jury at the 2013 Cannes International Film Festival in May of 2013, the first Japanese film to receive an award in the competition division since Naomi Kawase's "The Mourning Forest," in 2007. It will fall under the radar of thousands of film-lovers and this is a shame because it is a true masterpiece of its kind. If you are reading these words and you're only half-interested in buying it, do not hesitate. It will live long in the memory. Very strongly recommended.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Another excellent film from Kore-eda where the children rise above the adults inability to rationalise life’s cruel twists., 12 July 2014
This review is from: Like Father, Like Son [DVD] (DVD)
Could you give up your son if you found out he wasn’t yours, after nurturing him for six years from birth? Thats the question posed to two couples in Japanese director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s new film ‘Like Father, Like Son’, who found out that their sons were given to the wrong families in the hospital.

One family consists of Ryota (Masaharu Fukuyama) and Midorino (Machiko Ono), father and mother to their only son Keita (Keita Ninomiya). Ryusei (Shogen Hwang) is the other son, whose father and mother Yukari (Yoko Maki) and Yudai (Lily Franky) also have two more young children. The hospital officials arranged the first of many meetings between the two couples. After getting over the shock of what happened, the adults began negotiating with each other over the fates of their sons.

Both sets of couples couldn’t be any more stereotypically different. Ryota and Midorino are a well-heeled conservative couple with a sensibly behaved son to match their elegantly co-ordinated lifestyle. The jovial Yukari and Yudai are a more personable, care-free version of the former couple who believe family comes first and to hell with anything else. This collision of opposites starts off a bad reaction in the much more judgemental Ryota, an extremely pompous architect who thinks that only the ones who focus and work the hardest deserve anything in life. By now your own mind is hurtling through various thoughts on what you would do, which is carefully realised in this film. Is the conclusion inevitable? Everyone but Ryota seems to know what should be done, and the film focuses on his troubled and often quietly appalling behaviour.

Yukari and Yudai accepted that Ryusei was different to themselves and their other children. They never knew what was to transpire, but just as parents should they treated him no differently to their other children. Ryota and Midorino had no idea either that Keita was not their son, Midorino brought her son up as only a mother should. But Ryota couldn’t grasp his son not having any of the traits he admires in himself, repeatedly castigating him for his constant failures. Upon finding the truth, Ryota says to Midorino “That explains everything”, much to her anger.

If you’ve seen any of Kore-eda’s previous films, you’ll know that he has quickly become a master of naturalistic observational cinema. He doesn’t disappoint with ‘Like Father, Like Son’, another excellent film where the children rise above the adults inability to rationalise life’s cruel twists. The adults spend months and months deliberating over the nature-versus-nurture argument, but its the children who remind them of the too easily neglected responsibility of parenthood. Wherever and however they live, and whomever raises them, these boys will grow according to the world that they inhabit. It is they, and not their parents, who adapt the quickest and its they who teach their parents how to come to the same conclusion.

Rating: 8/10
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5.0 out of 5 stars Nature or Nurture?, 12 July 2014
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This review is from: Like Father, Like Son [DVD] (DVD)
A very sensitive and beautifully told story of two fathers and two sons. The children were switched at birth and this fact not discovered for eight years. A must watch film.
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3.0 out of 5 stars less than my expectation, 22 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Like Father, Like Son [DVD] (DVD)
I expected a better and more emotional parental struggle. Its plot is foreseen. Just because father discovered that his son took a picture of him secretly and longingly, we, the audience can't follow to a such climax change of father's feeling toward his son. It is better than average Japanese movie, however.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Really great film, 22 Jun 2014
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This review is from: Like Father, Like Son [DVD] (DVD)
This was a really good film. It was quite sad as it clearly showed the flaws in the family who "had everything". The poorer family were such a loving family. It made you think what would you do in those circumstances? The characters were very realistic.
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Like Father, Like Son [DVD]
Like Father, Like Son [DVD] by Hirokazu Kore-eda (DVD - 2014)
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