The 2020 film True Mothers was Japan's official Oscar entry for Best International Feature Film, yet it wasn't chosen as a nominee at the 93rd Academy Awards. Still, this gentle drama about parenting deserves to be seen. It is available to rent on various streaming sites and will make its DVD debut on June 8.
Satoko (Hiromi Nagasaku) and Kiyokazu (Arata Iura) are the parents to five-year-old Asato (Reo Sato), whom they adopted when he was a newborn. One day, the couple get an unexpected visit from a grungy young woman claiming to be Asato's biological mother, Hikari (Aju Makita), and she wants the boy back.
True Mothers is heavy on flashback, as we see Satoko and Kiyokazu desperately trying to conceive a child, and then considering adoption. We also see 14-year-old schoolgirl Hikari finding first love and getting pregnant.
Almost like chapter cards, there are occasionally beautifully filmed scenes of nature—trees swaying in the breeze and waves crashing in the ocean—representing the chaos as well as the serenity that life sometimes brings. Running 140-minutes, True Mothers is longish, and it especially drags in the second half, but stay with it because, in the end, it's a very perceptive and rewarding drama.