Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
Original title: Soshite Chichi Ni Naru
Japan, 2013. Amuse, Fuji Television Network, GAGA. Screenplay by Hirokazu Koreeda. Cinematography by Mikiya Takimoto. Produced by Kaoru Masuzaki, Hijiri Taguchi. Music by Takeshi Matsubara, Junichi Matsumoto, Takashi Mori. Production Design by Keiko Mitsumatsu. Film Editing by Hirokazu Koreeda. Cannes Film Festival 2013. Online Film Critics Awards 2013. Toronto International Film Festival 2013.
A white-collar business man pushes his son to be an overachiever like himself, emotionally distanced from his six year-old child whom he is hoping to turn into a piano virtuoso. When he and his wife are brought into the hospital where their son was born and learn that their baby was accidentally switched with another couple’s, their lives are thrown into complete disarray. The other two parents in this conundrum are a warm, comparatively vulgar clan, owners of a hardware store with two other children besides the changeling, who are equally dismayed at the situation they find themselves in. Countless issues now need to be addressed: do they keep the children they raised or does biology trump everything else and, if so, what does this say about the parents’ devotion to their children? What also becomes so complicated in the midst of all this angst, richly and subtly rendered thanks to director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s unflappable ability to achieve so much emotional poignancy with so little effort, is the painful reflection on the adults’ relationships with each other and how the children perceive their parents under such incredible stress. A marvelous film with excellent performances and a heart-felt finale.