Six years after their sons were born, two couples are informed by the hospital that a mix-up had resulted in them taking the wrong child home. The resulting exchange has ramifications both profound and surprising.
Two families — one uptight and wealthy, the other garrulous and skint — discover their six year-old sons were switched at birth. They reluctantly agree to an exchange, unprepared for the emotional aftershocks... While this ‘baby swap’ drama gently raises issues of nature-versus-nurture, Hirokazu Koreeda’s Cannes-winner is primarily a portrait of fatherhood, filtered through Masaharu Fukuyama’s aloof architect, loathe to hand his groomed offspring to an ‘inferior’ family. It’s typical Koreeda: austere visuals, Zen pacing, 20 minutes too long, and a shrewd, humane eye that finds emotion in the everyday: a chewed drinking straw, a broken toy. Utterly captivating.
Another quiet delight from Koreeda.
Reviewed by Simon Crook