Like Father, Like Son Screen 22 articles

Like Father, Like Son


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  • ...All of this odd business is dramatized with the utmost taste, so that when the film arrives at its inevitable, obvious realizations, we may feel we’ve seen something of emotional import rather than a simplistic, stacked-deck evocation of a nature versus nurture debate.

  • It’s nearly impossible not to respond on some level to material this emotionally freighted, and Kore-Eda’s understanding of young children is typically astute—both boys take the switcheroo in stride, acting out later in subtle ways—but Like Father, Like Son has the overall depth and tenor of a Lifetime movie. Kore-Eda can do much better.

  • Like any Kore-eda work, the movie benefits from stunning, if rather sterile, cinematography, a hushed tone, by turns wry and acerbic, and the director's now legendary ability to direct children. But while all this ensures a certain level of aesthetic accomplishment, it ultimately adds up to something less than a satisfying portrait of two families of different classes and two genders with different assumptions.

  • In spite of its commitment to delicate emotional epiphanies, however, Like Father, Like Son feels stretched thin compared to Still Walking, and in spite of a few expertly staged scenes—a late confrontation between father and “son” on two separate park paths finds an eloquent geographical match for the sequence’s emotional undercurrents—its lack of sturdy forward momentum turns out to be its fatal flaw.

  • Waited for some game-changing shift into high gear (I Wish was totally transformed by its 'montage of little moments'), but this seems fundamentally misguided; the theme of parents expecting to see themselves in their kids - and semi-consciously making love dependent on that - seems a much richer seam than the guff about workaholic dads needing to make time for their family, though cultural factors may be involved too.

  • As in I Wish and Still Walking, Kore-eda has a weakness for banally genteel classical music on the soundtrack, which in this case includes Glenn Gould’s 1981 re-recording of the “Goldberg Variations.” In this context, Kore-eda threatens to turn Gould’s decidedly eccentric, slowed-down second pass into so much background “life is sad but beautiful” nudging.

  • Like Father Like Son plays out as a gentle, cautionary morality tale for our times, which might be its weakness. It can feel at times a shade too knowing, a bit too schematic in its narrative patternings, with a sense of couching some improving advice on how to live better. I could have done without the sentimental ending and tinkly, saccharine music prompts, too.

  • These films are so relentlessly decent that to criticise them feels akin to stealing Christmas. But a certain packaged preciousness is beginning to seep into Kore-eda’s work that wasn’t present in works like 2004’s ‘Nobody Knows,’ and his latest, for all its careful construction and sweet pockets of feeling, is his glibbest and most morally one-sided film to date.

  • That two so starkly divided men would find themselves suddenly thrust into child-rearing opposition is a contrivance one ought to be willing, in the context of an unabashedly overdetermined film, to more or less forgive. What’s harder to forgive is simply the question this division forces us to ask: who makes the better father, the rich man without feeling or the poor man bursting with it? The question demands little thought, and the answer demands no interest.

  • Its delicate images are beautifully withheld and simply eloquent; of equal parts humor and distress, the images, like still waters, can flow over forceful undercurrents. This warm touch applied to such consummate restraint in the filmmaking would work best in a shorter work; at over two hours, Kore-eda draws out a situation whose emotional complexity does not ask for narrative elaboration.

  • It’s impossible to dislike this warm, meticulously carpentered film. Koreeda has proven himself a master of humanistic filmmaking, and I admire what he’s done (asthese entries indicate). Those of us who’ve been following his career for nearly twenty years, however, may feel a little disappointed that he hasn’t tried to stretch his horizons a bit more.

  • Mr. Kore-eda’s leisurely pace can sometimes feel overly deliberate here, and the obvious differences between the families, who initially seem to embody order versus chaos, at first register as excessively schematic. Once the pieces are in place, though, and he begins shifting your attention elsewhere — say, to a child secretly listening to his parents arguing — these differences recede, which is precisely to the story’s greater meaning.

  • Kore-eda maintains his own formal rigor throughout, a choice that entirely counteracts all histrionics and melodrama. This is a relentlessly quiet character study that is photographed with Zen remove and scored metronomically to Bach and Beethoven, each scene clipped to the barest essentials (sometimes only a line of dialogue is spoken before the film steadily ambles along its muted course).

  • Though the wider implications of the mooted trade aren’t explored as thoroughly as they could be, resulting in serious issues being left unresolved or else completely overlooked, Like Father, Like Son is a compelling, thought-provoking journey of self-reflection and -discovery that expertly riffs on universal themes.

  • The film is dotted with culturally specific cues about the differences between the families, and its story makes sound and detailed use of the contrast between the Nonomiyas and Sakais respective routines, dwellings, and extended relations. In Kore-eda’s unassuming manner, it all builds to a compassionate but not sappy conclusion.

  • Kore-eda handles this material in his typically gentle, methodically paced style, dividing the film into chapters by season, establishing a year in the life of these six individuals who come to see more of themselves in each other than they may have initially realized. It's one of the films great strengths that he's able to take such a specific subject and render it relatable to such potentially broad audience, whatever their marital or generational status.

  • Despite the shakiness of Kore-eda's philosophical thought experiment (rigid cinema, questionable premises), Like Father, Like Son ultimately touches us because it's about fathers facing their shortcomings on the precipice of unthinkable loss. A Spielbergian streak, then, may be Kore-eda's plan for putting the shards of a post-Ozu universe back together.

  • In the director’s sympathetic style, no one is strictly a villain: A nurse offers a shocking revelation, but it’s not as harsh as some of the dialogue that flies between torn parents, vying for the custodial high ground... The way forward for both clans involves a mutual concern extending beyond blood, making this a potent social-issues film from Japan’s most consistently excellent voice. Even if you’re not boned up on your classic Ozu family tragedies, see it before Spielberg does his remake.

  • Koreeda explores not just the nature of parental love but of filial love, and as the painful alienated past of Ryota comes to light... It’s a testimony to Fukuyama’s acting skills that as pig-headedly alienating as the character can be, he never becomes a complete turn-off. That’s also a testimony to the way Koreeda presents the situation; while the perspective is never not clear-headed, the abject heartbreak of the scenario is ever present.

  • Little Keita Ninomiya plays Keita with such tenderness, while Fukuyama makes Ryota harsh at first, and fills in each step of the man’s progress with precision. By the end, he’s earned sympathy, and “Like Father, Like Son’’ has earned its right to reduce a person to a sobbing wreck.

  • an apocalypse of cuteness, the Citizen Kane of Disney Dad movies. humane, complex & heartbreaking to the hilt. i'm genuinely disturbed by how much of my future self i saw in the film – it's an uncanny portrait of the dad I'm afraid of being. methinks some of my less enthusiastic colleagues fundamentally misconstrued the central questions of the film.

  • This moving drama, one of the best to date from Japanese writer-director Hirokazu Kore-eda, follows the relationship between these two families over the course of a year, presenting the ebb and flow of their lives with such care that even minute changes to their routines have an unsettling impact. Kore-eda and his actors realize the characters in novelistic depth, conveying sympathy even when subtly critiquing their behavior...

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