Foreign Film Series: “Like Father, Like Son”

Watching this movie I wanted to scream, punch things and people and throw things at the screen while crying. All at the same time. I hated it. In the most loving way possible. It was great, and also infuriating.

“Like Father, Like Son” is a Japanese film that was shown as part of the foreign film series at Parkside’s cinema on March 8. It was originally released in Japan in 2013 and was nominated for 12 awards during the Japanese Academy Awards, which would be equivalent to America’s Oscars, including best picture. It tells the tale of two families who are told after six years that their sons were actually switched at birth. It mainly follows the mindset and emotional roller coaster of one of the fathers, a work-driven man who spends more time worrying about his career than his family. The film paints him as the main decision-maker among all of the parents, which does give it a slightly unrealistic feel at times – the question ran through my head: “what mother wouldn’t fight that?” It puts all the responsibility of choices on him.

This character is played by Japanese actor Masaharu Fukuyama, whose performance drags viewers through a wide array of feelings. Flip-flopping repeatedly from hating him to loving him and then back again, this actor proves his nomination for best actor to be well warranted as it ties together the whole film. As such a controversial and rare subject, it is his character that truly makes the audience feel for the family. Director Hirokazu Koreeda adds his personal touches to enhance Fukuyama’s role by using a few intense moments of silence to slowly kill the audience as our hearts break over the two-hour period. Koreeda’s choice of ending for the film puts a final nail in the coffin as our heart purely aches for everyone involved.

This is by far one of the best films that Parkside has shown this season during their foreign film series and it’s one that no one should miss. It is currently available for instant streaming on Netflix, so I would say to all who have access, take the time. It’s worth it. Just don’t throw anything at your television,  no matter how much Fukuyama makes you want to.

Article by Krista Skweres

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