by: Uel Ceballos
What will you do if after six years, you find out that your child has been swapped in the hospital with the other couple’s child? Would the blood matters rather than the six years that you’ve spent with the child whom all years you thought was your own?
“Like Father Like Son” is a deeply moving Japanese film that tells the stories of two different families whose lives became interconnected through a single incident that happened way back. It took them six years to find out that their sons were exchanged intentionally by an insecure nurse and now they are faced with a crucial decision which they have to make as early as possible. Upon finding this out they are threatened by the possible damages that can be incurred to the children and to them, the parents; who are now quite torn about swapping the children again or leaving everything as they are.
More than the consideration of the legal matters, the Nonomiya and Saiki families are much more concerned about the best possible decision that they could make for their children. Giving the children back to their real parents isn’t the best action to do, though it’s considered to be the first main solution. Nonomiya and Saiki are different in status and lifestyle, the first one may be greater in financial capability, but the second one is far more capable in giving time for the family. While Saiki Yudai, a storekeeper is able to give all the time in the world just to play and bond with his sons, the facts can’t be denied that he needs to strive harder to feed his big family. Nonomiya Ryota on the other hand, earns more than enough as a hard-working architect but his time is often constrained to works, leaving his wife and son often alone at their home. Ryota and Yudai are two different fathers who both love their children to bits, but have different ways of raising them. Now they are both caught into a situation that compels them to begin another new process of fatherhood to the real son that they have never been with for six long years.
Like Father Like Son is a richly emotional film that ponder about the hardest but one of the most important job in the world -- parenthood. When do you really become a parent? Is it by blood solely? Is the tie that is connecting the child to its parents mainly refers to the blood relation? And when you found out that there’s really no connection at all, would that make your parents-child relationship any less despite the years that you’ve spent together? This film explores the parents-child relationship to the extent of going beyond the blood and flesh border.
The children’s slow adaptation to their new home environment after six years of being with another family is definitely out of question. We can’t blame their innocent mind from getting confused on why they are being sent by their parents to another couple’s house – and on why they are finding it hard to grasp the idea that the parents who raised them are not their real parents at all. But despite the child’s tight grip to his old lifestyle (including the family he has grown with), he still grows more and more alike to his parents, particularly to the physical aspects. This is both apparent to the two children – Keita and Ryuusei who grow with great resemblance to their real father -- proving only that one can never deny where he has come from. However, Keita and Ryuusei have also acquired some traits from the man who has raised them, showing as well that loving the person you live with is all enough to grow more like him., maybe not in physical but in emotional and thinking aspects.
This film is undeniably beautiful with its abundant depiction of love and family’s common struggles. “Like Father Like Son” is a sweet and heart-warming expression of love that makes a relationship without blood connection at all, grow way deeper than the one that has.