LIKE FATHER LIKE SON | THE REVIEW AND GIVEAWAY

Salty Kernel, Andrew Brusentsev, reviews this superb Cannes Jury Prize winning film, LIKE FATHER LIKE SON, from Hirokazu Kore-eda, a film which explores the family dynamic and the drama associated with the “switched at birth” notion. It is being released this THUR 17th April from Rialto Distribution, is rated PG, and runs for 121mins. I know it is releasing at PALACE CINEMAS  but I would also check with your local art house cinemas as we are giving you the opportunity to win one of 5X double passes to see it with thanks to RIALTO DISTRIBUTION. I am wanting to send these tickets by Wednesday so you get them in time for the weekend as such this comp will close Wednesday at some stage. Enjoy Andrew’s review and find out how to win after you read the review.

 

Like Father Like Son, Cannes Film Festival, Jury Prize Winner, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japanese Film, Andrew Brusentsev, Rialto Distribution, Masaharu Fukuyama, Machiko Ono, Yoko Maki
LIKE FATHER LIKE SON | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | THE MOVIE POSTER

 

REVIEW BY ANDREW BRUSENTSEV

I was very interested to see Hirokazu Kore-eda’s LIKE FATHER LIKE SON as it had all the buzz at the Cannes Film Festival and was the winner of the Jury Prize (no small feat). Hirokazu must be given all credit for what is really a marvelously constructed movie.

Ryota and Midori (Masaharu Fukuyama and Machiko Ono) are a rich couple living an idyllic upper-class lifestyle. He an architect and she his devoted and dutiful wife. For the past six years they have been raising their only son Keita (Keita Ninomiya). Ryota is strict, forceful but loving with him. Balanced out by Midori, who is much gentler. Keita is being moulded into his father’s version of greatness. Ryota believes that the only way to achieve this is through seriousness and dedication. Ryota may appear cold but he clearly adores Keita, although due to his job he cannot devote much time to this relationship.

 

Like Father Like Son, Cannes Film Festival, Jury Prize Winner, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japanese Film, Andrew Brusentsev, Rialto Distribution, Masaharu Fukuyama, Machiko Ono, Yoko Maki
LIKE FATHER LIKE SON | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | THE FAMILIES

 

Late one night they receive a call from the hospital where six years ago they had their son. Going in to see the hospital’s administrator they receive devastating news. They are told that the child is not, in fact, theirs at all, that a hospital error switched two baby boys at birth. Their son Keita is not really theirs. Their son has been raised for six years by complete strangers. Still not recovering from this shocking news the couple are introduced not only to their son Keita’s biological parents but also their own biological child.

What makes matters worse is that when the two families begin to get to know each other they quickly realise their morality, their lifestyles and their differences in family outlook couldn’t be more stark. Their biological son named Ryusei (Shogen Hwang), has been growing up with two young siblings, in a poor household whose head Yudai (Riri Furanki) is an appliance repairman and mother Yukari (Yoko Maki) is a ramen server. Whilst theirs is not a life of privilege it soon becomes apparent that they are excellent parents with a very hands-on role in raising their children. Yudai could not be more different from Ryota. He believes in a hands-on practical approach to child raising. He literally does everything with his children.

 

Like Father Like Son, Cannes Film Festival, Jury Prize Winner, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japanese Film, Andrew Brusentsev, Rialto Distribution, Masaharu Fukuyama, Machiko Ono, Yoko Maki
LIKE FATHER LIKE SON | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | Masaharu Fukuyama, Machiko Ono and Yoko Maki

 

The parents agree that a swap eventually has to be made but how to achieve this? Whilst this sounds like a paint by numbers movie this could not be further from the truth. Kore-eda’s subtle approach and the excellent performances not only from the principles, but also the two children, is what sets this apart from your usual telemovie fair.

Kore-eda begins to ask the audience some serious questions. When the two children are swapped initially we explore through some gorgeously shot interactions of family life the meaning of both love, genetic inheritance and the nature vs nurtures argument. Ryota who appears cold at first is redeemed in the eyes of the audience when his own past is explored both with his brother and with his distant, and cold, father. Interactions and scenes that show how he became the man he is today. How this has shaped his own responses both to family life and to duty. Fukuyama is quite brilliant as Ryota never allowing his character to be a one dimensional caricature. His wife at first annoyingly dutiful is shown to have a hidden depth of strong will and reserve which she masks in order to provide stability to the family. Riri Furanki’s Yudai is the real scene stealer and Kore-eda explores his doting devotion to both his wife and children very subtly but no less beautifully.

 

Like Father Like Son, Cannes Film Festival, Jury Prize Winner, Hirokazu Kore-eda, Japanese Film, Andrew Brusentsev, Rialto Distribution, Masaharu Fukuyama, Machiko Ono, Yoko Maki
LIKE FATHER LIKE SON | THE SALTY POPCORN REVIEW | THE MOVIE BANNER

 

A second act plot twist of sorts doesn’t just accelerate the dramatic momentum; it forces the characters to confront the uglier sides of themselves. One exquisite scene with Ono’s character occurs on a train as she contemplates an escape from the torment of potentially trading the son she loves for a child she doesn’t know, biology or not. As her thoughts grow darker, the shadows of the station that the train is pulling into throw her and the Keita into literal darkness. It’s a well-orchestrated effect that hinges on the obvious. The heartbreak in every scene is palpable and what a first seems like a preposterous situation is given over the nearly two hour’s room to breathe and the actors to imbue it with an amazing reality.

I enjoyed every single moment of this movie. Hats off to not only the technical team but all the actors involved. It’s tough but achingly beautiful.

 

4 and a Half Pops

 

 

With special thanks to RIALTO DISTRIBUTION to win one of the 5 x double passes to use for a screening of LIKE FATHER LIKE SON you need to either like and share this post on Facebook or retweet/ favourite it on Twitter, you then need to leave a comment below stating the answer to the following question:

What is your favourite film about family and why?  

If you do not have Facebook and Twitter then get with the times old timer haha – You can still enter, leave your entry below and email me at jkdigitaldesigns@gmail.com telling me you don’t have social media 

Prizes will be awarded based on skill and selected purely on the thoughts of the judges, said judges being the Salty Kernels.

The prizes will be sent in the next week or two. Good luck! Oh, and minor housekeeping – huge apologies for overseas readers, this competition is only available to Australian residents.