Japan's Official Submission to the Academy Awards
After a long and unsuccessful struggle to get pregnant, Satoko and her husband decide to adopt a child. Over the next six years, the middle-class couple and their young son Asato settle into a comfortable, albeit routine, life. The family’s orderly existence is shattered by the arrival of Hikari, a young woman claiming to be Asato’s biological mother, demanding his return. As tensions mount, Satoko grows more and more emboldened to defend her family.
Weaving together multiple timelines and genres with a contemplative pacing and keen sense of place, hallmarks of Kawase’s work, TRUE MOTHERS is “is a deeply touching celebration of women who assume duties of love, support and compassion” (Awards Watch).
- "True Mothers covers an impressive amount of narrative ground, morphing from social issue film to domestic drama, romantic melodrama, violent urban thriller and at last a quiet reflection of cathartic confrontation."
- "Naomi Kawase's best film in years, TRUE MOTHERS is a deeply touching celebration of women who assume duties of love, support and compassion."
- "The latest film from the prolific Japanese director Naomi Kawase is a rewarding drama which weaves together knotted maternal bonds and textured character portraits. An elegant, absorbing piece of storytelling, its universal themes and a tone which conveys empathy without tipping into sentimentality...."
- "True Mothers is one of Naomi Kawase's best films to date, a thoughtful drama about the shame associated with unconventional motherhood."
- "[T]he film shimmers with beauty and sadness.... “True Mothers” wows in the end with an emotional banger of an ending that’s a truly devastating convergence of all the film’s threads. Kawase ties everything together beautifully...."
- "The Japanese auteur Naomi Kawase has returned with another of her highly distinctive, tremulously sensitive movies...there is a sustained emotional seriousness in this movie, with committed performances."
- "True Mothers is a sensitive, thoughtful exploration of a subject that far too often collapses into melodramatic pastiche."
Awards & Recognition
San Sebastian Film Festival
Chicago Int'l. Film Festival
Cannes Film Festival
Toronto Int'l. Film Festival
Rome Film Festival
Busan Int'l. Film Festival
Philadelphia Film Festival