Hirokazu Koreeda’s new film, Like Father, Like Son, pretends that it will be up front about the source of its heartbreak. Koreeda is the tragedian behind 2004’s Nobody Knows, based on the real-life horror of several small children abandoned in their Tokyo apartment after their mother disappeared. This time he takes a parental perspective: Like Fatheropens with a couple learning that their only child was switched at birth, and is not biologically related to them.
There’s a standard modern solution to tragedy: Deny that one half of the conflict is really important. Why should mere DNA matter—why isn’t love and care enough? The Nonomiyas have raised their son Keita for six years, so he’s theirs, full stop. The other kid isn’t.
But by the movie’s end, this particular problem is not what Like Father is about.