True Mothers

Directed by Naomi Kawase
Film Movement
140 Minutes
Not Rated

Japan's official submission to the Academy Awards for Best International Picture.

After a long and unsuccessful struggle to get pregnant, convinced by the discourse of an adoption association, Satoko and her husband decide to adopt a baby boy. A few years later, their parenthood is shaken by a threatening unknown girl, Hikari, who claims to be the child's biological mother. Satoko decides to confront Hikari directly.

Director & Cast




  • "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."
    Nicholas Bell, Ion Cinema
  • "Naomi Kawase's best film in years, TRUE MOTHERS is a deeply touching celebration of women who assume duties of love, support and compassion."
    Mina Takla, AwardsWatch
  • "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...."
    Wendy Ide, Screen Daily
  • "True Mothers is one of Naomi Kawase's best films to date, a thoughtful drama about the shame associated with unconventional motherhood."
    Alex Heeney, Seventh Row
  • "[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...."
    Ryan Lattanzio, IndieWire
  • "The Japanese auteur Naomi Kawase has returned with another of her highly distinctive, tremulously sensitive movies...."
    Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
  • "True Mothers is a sensitive, thoughtful exploration of a subject that far too often collapses into melodramatic pastiche."
    Alexandra Heller-Nicholas, Alliance of Women Film Journalists