Ryota (Fukuyama) has it all: a well-paid profession, a beautiful family, and an elegant high-rise apartment. But when he and his wife Midori (Ono) discover that their six year old son Keita (Ninomiya) is not their flesh and blood, their lives are thrown into disarray. Switched at birth, Keita actually belongs to Yudai (Franky) and Yukari (Maki), who have raised Ryusei (Hwang), Ryota’s biological son, in his place. The two families must then navigate the bewildering choices they face.
A tabloid-ready story becomes a meditation on parenthood in this thoughtful family drama from one of Japan’s top contemporary filmmakers. Koreeda clearly portrays the social and economic divide between the two families, but takes care to make the story about love and acceptance rather than privilege. The child actors give appropriately restrained performances, but it is Fukuyama who shines brightest as a man forced to reevaluate what it means to be a father.