Directed by Hirokazu Kore-eda, a storyteller who, like Yasujiro Ozu before him, gently explores and quietly reveals the tenderness, the raw heartbreak, the love, anger and confusion at the heart of family. In his previous films – ‘Nobody Knows’, ‘Still Walking’, and ‘I Wish’ – he questions family and its operations.
Successful architect Ryota and his loving, but frustrated wife, Midori, learn that their young son Keita was switched with another child at birth, now living with a working class family. A life-changing decision must be made…
Although the film displays very traditional Japanese family values, the themes are universal, especially where it touches on class issues and child separation, similar to ‘I Wish’, in which brothers are split between their divorced parents.
The film builds with small notes and nuances so we are immersed in the lives of the family and each of their ways of seeing the world. The director is asking us to examine how strong parental bonds can be and how the right thing to do is often the most difficult thing to do.
The issue of nature versus nature is explored with a subtle, humanistic touch while the characters evolve with a gentle, gradual touch. A lovingly mesmerising movie…