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By now there are many films about single fathers, but for me the eye-opener was 1979’s “Kramer vs. Kramer.” In it, Dustin Hoffman plays a workaholic adman who struggles to raise his young son after being abandoned by his wife (Meryl Streep), but resists giving up the boy when she returns to claim custody. At first a bumbler who can barely scramble eggs, Hoffman’s character becomes a model parent, a journey that is a source of laughter, tension and, for many male viewers (including this one), self-reflection.

Based on the 2009 novel of the same title by Kiyoshi Shigematsu, Ken Iizuka’s sincere, sentimental drama “Step” is set in a different era and country, but the divorce-court argument of Meryl Streep’s character — that a child belongs with its mother – still echoes in its story of a widower (Takayuki Yamada) raising his daughter from the age of 2 to 12.

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