Mommy or Daddy? (2022) Film Review


Mom or Dad still

In Mom or Dad?, a current issue is presented to us through the lives and testimonies of those who have suffered from it since birth. Japan is perhaps the only country in modern times without joint custody laws. This means that if a couple decides to separate, the child usually lives with one of them and the other is erased from the child’s life. Completely eliminated to the point of suppression.

He directed the film John H. LaDue Jr. and Jennifer LaDue Miyagawa it consists of many stories at once, but mainly focuses on Rie. Rie is divorced from her husband and hasn’t seen her son in 12 years. He dreams of her and hopes to see her again at some point in his life. He was a child brought up in a home where he could not see his mother for a long time.

Rie decides to do something. From trying to understand the legal side of this absurd problem to becoming a social worker who deals with children in similar circumstances. The documentary is about how he enters the universe of the solution, and as far as it seems, there is nothing but hope on his way through an inexplicable lack of consideration.

For a little less than an hour, the directors try to make us a part of this situation. Japan looks like a country straight out of the future, with its crazy treatment of spaces and light. But Rie’s problem is much more primitive and complex. She seems out of place because she cannot fulfill the essential role of motherhood. You can only imagine what it’s like to be a childlike mother. This very intimate shot is what makes this such a powerful film.

Animated sequences help the audience to piece together a picture of trauma in modern times in an absurdly organized and premeditated way. Mom or Dad? not just a jarring depiction of a current issue, but one that has been considered logical in the spreadsheet for decades. When the reason behind such a decision is revealed, it seems plausible to some extent, but as the film suggests, there are many forms of abuse. These include getting children out of a world where parents exist.

A narrow-minded view is that couples should stay together for the sake of the children. Because they are supposed to be close to their parents. However, this can also result in some emotional trauma for the parents. So why not avoid this altogether and have all parties agree? Why is it so hard to agree on something?

Mom or Dad? a revealing argument for trying to come to terms with the beginnings of a solution. After all, recognizing that there is a problem is the first step, and modern societies need to be pioneers in this issue, right?

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Federico Furzan

Founder of Screentology. Member of OFCS. RT rated critic
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