The Ties that Bind: Interview with Like Father, Like Son’s Hirokazu Kore-eda
The Cannes Jury Prize-winning film that follows two families who discover that their six-year-old boys were switched at birth opens in Los Angeles on January 24.
by Ada Tseng
Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Like Father, Like Son (Soshite chichi ni naru) begins with a normal, if semi-rigid, Japanese family: a successful architect Ryota (Masaharu Fukuyama), his wife Midori (Machiko Ono), and their adorable six-year-old son Keita (Keita Ninomiya). Ryota has high expectations for his young son, who he wishes were as driven as he prides himself as being, and Ryota’s constant disappointment tests the patience of his wife, who is more open to the idea that the sweet-natured, if not academically-minded, Keita doesn’t need to be an exact replica of either of his parents.
A giant wrench is thrown in their nature vs. nurture theories when they receive some devastating news from the hospital, that their son was switched at birth. Keita is not genetically theirs. The two families of the switched-at-birth boys, who are meeting each other for the first time, then begin the slow process of figuring out the “right” thing to do. Both sides can barely fathom how the right thing could possibly involve giving up the son who they’ve parented as their own for the last six years.