A likable ‘Like Father, Like Son’

Masaharu Fukuyama plays a man who learns that the boy he had raised as his son (Keita Ninomiya) had been switched at birth six years before.
Masaharu Fukuyama plays a man who learns that the boy he had raised as his son (Keita Ninomiya) had been switched at birth six years before.Credit: FUJI TELEVISION NETWORK INC./AMUSE INC./GAGA CORPORATION

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Like Father, Like Son

The Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda has the talent for taking deep and irresolvable anxieties – death (“After Life”), abandonment (“Nobody Knows”), grief and guilt (“Still Walking”), and broken families (“I Wish”) — and turning them into odd, understated parables that teeter between the mawkish and the profound. If Yasujirô Ozu had been under contract with Walt Disney, he might have made films like this.

“Like Father, Like Son,” Kore-eda’s latest, offers more of the same, but with less conviction. A bittersweet musing about the nature of parenthood and about the conflict between nature and nurture, it is as banal and insightful as its title.

Two families face an excruciating crisis when they learn that their two boys have been switched at birth.

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