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‘Do Unto Others’ makes an unconvincing case for euthanasia

Editor’s note: The following article includes spoilers for “Do Unto Others”

Caregivers who kill their charges, from the mentally disabled to the terminally ill, have long made headlines in Japan. The public reaction typically ranges from outrage to sympathy, particularly the latter when the killers are elderly, ailing and bearing the burden of care alone. The problem is hardly limited to Japan, but legal, cultural and demographic factors have made it more severe here than in certain other economically advanced countries.

Based on a 2013 novel by Aki Hamanaka, Tetsu Maeda’s “Do Unto Others” begins as whodunit entertainment but segues midway to a lugubrious tearjerker that addresses the issue of elder care with an emotionalism that feels at odds with reality — and ordinary morality.

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