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Set in contemporary Japan, this film focuses on a young and loving single child family unit. The father is a successful and driven businessman. The mother is gentle, caring for the needs of her husband and her musically gifted—and equally driven—son. A surprising twist early in the movie sets in motion a life-changing reality for the family, and another family enters the scene.

By contrast, this father is not motivated by financial and career success. He and his wife love their three children deeply in a free and unstructured atmosphere. The story unfolds as the families grapple with what parent and child love really is.

The characters are beautiful, not so much in what they say, but in how they interact with each other and as sons model themselves after their fathers. As the movie unfolds, tensions are created and stereotypes are broken down. Although culturally rooted in place, the themes are universal. Love rises to the top as these two families form an unlikely bond. The ending is satisfying even as it leaves much for the viewer to wonder about. On disc now. (IFC Films)

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