Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) Poster

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An Intelligent and Solid Film About Divorce
evanston_dad9 November 2007
After a decade of turbulent unrest, American movies began to switch gears and turn their cameras away from war-torn battlefields, political corruption, and general social unease to the more intimate world of family dysfunction. The toll the selfish Baby Boomers began to take on the American family as they grew up and had kids of their own was making itself felt.

"Kramer vs. Kramer" is one of the first of these dysfunctional family dramas that would continue to be so popular throughout the 1980s, and it's one of the best. It gets a rather bum rap now, because it's known as the film that beat "Apocalypse Now" for the 1979 Best Picture Academy Award, but comparing these two films is like comparing a banana to a marinated chicken breast: they're not remotely the same, but can't we enjoy them both? Director/writer Robert Benton doesn't try to do anything fancy with his movie; its strength lies in its performances, those of Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep particularly, playing a divorced couple fighting childishly and selfishly over their son. The courtroom scene in which they duke it out for custody, and in which each is forced to hurt the other in terrible ways, is devastating, and feels authentic. The movie doesn't present Hoffman's solid dad as a hero, or Streep's straying mom as a villain. They're neither good or bad as people -- they're simply bad at being married.

The film is tear-jerky at the finale, but not in a manipulative way. It earns its right to elicit sobs.

Grade: A
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"How much courage does it take to walk out on your kid?"
ackstasis10 December 2007
Warning: Spoilers
'Kramer vs. Kramer' succeeds so tremendously, not because it shows us something that we've never seen before, but because it shows us life as we know it. The relationship between Ted Kramer and his young son Billy is really nothing remarkable – almost every father in the world shares a similar bond with his own son – and yet, paradoxically, this is what makes the film such a remarkable achievement: it is a window into real-life. That year, though 'Apocalypse Now (1979)' was undoubtedly the more impressive piece of cinema, the Academy decided to award the top honours to a film that was more intimate and closer-to-home {perhaps they were also hesitant, after 'The Deer Hunter (1978),' to reward a war picture two years in a row}. 'Kramer vs. Kramer' received, not only Best Picture, but also a well-deserved Best Actor {Dustin Hoffman's first win}, Best Director {Robert Benton}, Best Adapted Screenplay {Robert Benton} and Best Actress in a Supporting Role {Meryl Streep's first win}. Young Justin Henry, aged 8 years, became the youngest actor in history to be nominated for a competitive Oscar.

At the beginning of the film, we are immediately aware that Ted Kramer (Hoffman) is not a perfect husband. His commitment to work means that he has largely neglected his strained wife, Joanna (Streep), and, indeed, he isn't even listening to her when she finally announces her intentions to leave him. With Joanna having departed for California in order to "find herself," Ted is left alone to care for their young son Billy (Justin Henry), during which time he must juggle both his working and family lives. As Ted takes up this mammoth task, we notice that, up to this point, he hasn't been much of a father, either, blundering his attempts to make a simple breakfast and having to ask in which grade-level his son belongs. Eventually, however, though it reflects rather poorly on his career, Ted and Billy formulate a truly touching father-son relationship, and, for the first time, Ted seems satisfied with his family life – until, that is, Joanna returns to claim custody of the child.

Perhaps it's just being a male that influenced my emotions, but I absolutely loathed Joanna Kramer. The mere notion of a mother walking out on her son, only to return 15 months later with the expectation of receiving custody, left me absolutely livid, and, were it not for the character's final act, I might even have labelled her as the film's "villain." However, to do so would probably oppose the primary message of the film, which is that both Ted and Joanna are young Billy's parents, and that they must each come to accept this, and to accept that they are both equally responsible for the well-being of their child. The ending of the film, with the elevator door closing to irreparably separate Ted and Joanna once more {destroying any idealistic hopes that the two would get back together} creates an open-endedness to the story that I thought was very suitable. As in real-life, there is no clear resolution to the story, and the future is hopeful but uncertain.
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Brilliant drama
jhaggardjr8 June 2000
"Kramer vs. Kramer" is a terrific drama about an unhappy woman who walks out on her husband and young son. The husband now has to take up the responsibilities of taking care of the boy. As he does, they get to know each other better. But then, the mother and wife returns, and she wants custody of the boy. "Kramer vs. Kramer" has lots of drama with some wonderful bits of comedy thrown in for good measure. Dustin Hoffman won his first Best Actor Oscar for his brilliant performance here. Most people say his performance in "Rainman", which won him his second Oscar, is his best. He was great in that film, but I disagree that its his best. In my opinion, the best performance of Hoffman's career is in this movie. Scene after scene shows us why Hoffman is one of the best American actors working today. He's also funny at times. Also giving a terrific performance is Meryl Streep, who wasn't as well known when she made this film like she is today. Streep, like Hoffman, also won her first Oscar (for Best Supporting Actress) for her work in "Kramer vs. Kramer" as the wife and mother who tries to find herself after walking out on her family. Justin Henry, who was only 8 years old when the film came out, is wonderful as Hoffman and Streep's son. He won an Oscar nomination for his role here, and still to this day he is the youngest performer to receive an Oscar nomination in a competitive category (Best Supporting Actor). Jane Alexander is also fine as a conserned family friend. She too got an Oscar nomination (for Supporting Actress where she lost to co-star Streep). "Kramer vs. Kramer" is a great film from start to finish. Writer-director Robert Benton has made a film that's absolutely unforgettable.

**** (out of four)
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The whole cast was simply brilliant
Tito-820 June 1999
This outstanding film has about the best acting that you'll ever see, and that alone makes this a must-see. The entire cast is excellent, but then again, it had to be in order to keep up with Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep. It didn't take me long to get hooked on this film, and aside from a courtroom scene that is merely good, this is top-notch entertainment. This is a rare film that actually deserved all the Oscar recognition that it received. See it for yourself and you will definitely not be disappointed.
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What a terrific acting movie
Smells_Like_Cheese28 July 2005
I consider myself lucky that I got to view a wonderful movie with two marvelous actors. "Kramer vs. Kramer" was great to me because I think I could relate to it.

Unfortunately, my parents are divorced. Even though I was older than Billy in this movie, I felt his pain and confusion. Having two parents who you thought were happy and end up hating each other is the worst. Through this movie, actually, I think it made me realize that my parents are people too, and they had as just much pain as my sister and I had.

Back to the movie, this was a good one. Yes, it's dated and Meryl and Dustin are very young. But I would recommend this for a lot of people, because I think most can relate in some way. There are funny, sad, happy, and relieving moments that are carried away terrificly by these great actors. It's a good movie and deserves more credit than a 7.5.

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Benton's greatest Writing and Directing, his achievement in film winning all the top major Oscars of 1979
CihanVercan27 February 2010
Robert Benton's Kramer vs. Kramer is a character based story just like his "Human Stain(2003)" and "The Late Show(1977)". 2 of his 3 Oscar awards are belong to Kramer vs. Kramer, for his success on directing and writing; thus making his film bringing a real life drama with the real life characters so close to us. It's all about ordinary people with our problems. What's different and catchy about Robert Benton's film-making was here we are not trying to put ourselves in the actors' shoes, the actors are trying to put themselves in our shoes.

The story is about the Kramer family which is broken, father and mother are separated, and they have to fight for their son's custody in court against each other. After his wife walks out on him, Ted Kramer's life completely turns upside down. He has to take care of his son, Billy; but at the same time he's very busy with his position in an advertising company. Soon, he loses his job; Billy has an accident; his wife wants Billy to live with her. Against all the problems Ted is facing, he always fought with his heart. Ted's a very emotional and sensitive man, but a strong person at the same time.

Ted Kramer character was a new model for Dustin Hoffman. But since the late 1950s' Elia Kazan's pioneer approach of modern drama making on film, with the basic instalment of the leading actor into a conflict, Ted Kramer's strong character raised Dustin Hoffman's acting to become a legend ; just like it did to Marlon Brando, Sylvester Stallone, Al Pacino and Jack Nicholson with 1970s'.

Something more about the movie; the linear cut has been 43 minutes longer than the theatrical release. Most of this cut has included Meryl Streep's deleted scenes. Also Meryl Streep has been originally cast in the role of Ted's one night stand, eventually played by second supporting actress Jobeth Williams. Meryl Streep's role as Joanna Kramer has been primarily offered to Kate Jackson; but due to her contract rules with the TV-series Charlie's Angels, she hasn't been able to accept this role. Joanna Kramer character has been designed to be the leading actress and subject to have more scenes, before director Benton making the last decision of the plot's focus point.

Both Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman today have splendid fame on movie career, and Kramer vs. Kramer was an important milestone for both of their careers. Dustin Hoffman's Oscar speech winning the best actor at the 1979 Academy Awards ceremony is one of the best Oscar speeches of all Academy Awards history; like the movie Hoffman's Oscar speech is also available to watch on Youtube.
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Going Up?
jaydj10 September 1998
A beautifully done film rich with symbolisms that could be invisible to the unaware eyes. The elevator scene for example symbolizes two main themes of the movie, separation and emotion. One could notice that the first scene showed Joanna going down the elevator, symbolizing her feeling of depression, likewise Ted goes down the elevator after the last trial scene - knowing that he probably lost the case. On the other hand, Ted brings Billy to see his new office and it was another elevator trip but this time going up, showing the joy and excitement both have. Lastly, one could notice that both Ted and Joanna never are together in one elevator - with this we can foresee that they will never get together even in the end. The symbolism of separation with the use of the elevator shows this even though we never find out in the end.
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Exceptionally touching…
Sanou_san5 March 2008
Certainly when I saw this movie at HBO, I was bit erratic in following the plot, but it catches my attention when seeing Dustin Hoffman in it. Honestly I'm not enthralled watching old movies, but then in the long run it changes my point of view. Seeing this stirring film made me experience once again couching at my seat not noticing my tears suddenly roll down my cheek, and then after, let loose a heavy sigh in realizing the impact of what I've just witness. Kramer vs Kramer was indeed one of the best classical drama movies I've witnessed for a long time that even I, myself couldn't imagine how it touched me. The story was strongly emotional, but is not saturated with such. The characters weren't unrealistic for their roles; they possess qualities that make viewers like them whatever position they have in the film, like the role of Meryl Streep, she was a mother who honestly concede her mistakes at the past but then she's confident to stand up her emotional motives to get what she desires in a fair and square battle. Dustin Hoffman was way too outstanding, I can't even fathom how this guy could play seriously difficult roles and suddenly jump into another role which is completely different, then performed it well. Even though I have already seen the movies a lot of times, when I seat back and lounge at my home scanning worth movies to peer and buy a time for it, catching a glimpse for Kramer vs Kramer will make my experience another worthwhile moment.
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Excellent Divorce Drama!
jbartelone26 January 2007
This is a wonderful movie about the trials and tribulations of divorce and its often shattering effect on a broken family with their young son caught up in a bitter custody battle. The greatest scenes are the beautifully moving interactions with Dustin Hoffman and his adoring 6-year son, played magnificently by young Justin Henry. The performances are very realistic. The directing is face-paced, and no one at any time seems superficial in their roles. Anyone who has gone through, or is going through a divorce, or even a bad marriage, will find some great meaning and insight from this movie.

The only drawback is Meryl Streep. I always believed that she was an over-rated actress. But in Kramer vs. Kramer, there is something missing from her character that I think creates an aloofness in the scenes that she is in. I could tell from her body language very early on in this movie that she had strong emotional problems. Throughout the film, she seems so quiet and unsure of herself that you begin to feel even MORE sensitivity for the real troubling issues facing Ted (Dustin) and Billy. (Justin) Their scenes together are SOOOO well done that you really see them as a father and son and not actors. There is also no sappiness or soap opera dialog to muddle this fine story. I must also give credit to director Robert Benton for a movie that pulls at the heart strings many times.

This is a very fine film.
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A Great End to a Great Decade of Best Picture Winners.
tfrizzell15 March 2002
"Kramer vs. Kramer" is probably the weakest winner of the Best Picture Oscar in the 1970s, but that does not mean that this it is not an excellent film that more than delivers. The film deals with a career man (Oscar-winner Dustin Hoffman) who must rear his young son (Justin Henry, the youngest Oscar-nominee ever) after his wife (Oscar-winner Meryl Streep) leaves them with no real explanation. What follows is a heart-touching story about the man who finally learns what it means to be a father and a boy who learns who his father really is. Of course the film becomes heart-rending later as Streep returns after a long absence and wants to take Hoffman to court for custody of their son. "Kramer vs. Kramer" then becomes an intense courtroom drama that has few equals. Robert Benton's Oscar-winning direction and screenplay could have fallen flat several times, but he stays focused throughout and his plan works to near perfection. Of course the aforementioned performances and the performance of Oscar-nominee Jane Alexander are the primary calling cards of the film. Hoffman and Streep are at the top of their careers here and their acts are electric and thunderous from start to finish. All in all, "Kramer vs. Kramer" could have been unintentionally funny or even down-right dull, but the film is so well-made and acted that it succeeds with stunning results. 5 stars out of 5.
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Very interesting
DanielLowery9622 April 2019
This was one movie that I always wanted to watch but never got around to it. I have just finished it, and the main thing that caught my attention was how neutral and unjudgmental this movie was, because it would have been very easy, and I would say easier, for the director to give us a more biased view of the happenings on the screen. However, I strongly am sided with one of the parents, but the inner dialogues I had with myself during the movie were very interesting to observe.

Overall, nice story, beautifully scripted and superbly acted. A must watch.
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....was one of my big faves, at least at one time
nnwahler9 April 2017
Time was, 35 years ago, when I rated this as my third-favorite movie of all time. I'd watched it a total of three times, thought Hoffman's performance was the greatest, and much later bought a Beta copy of it. Of course, in '79 I'd seen very, very few movies then; I'd be familiarized with the historical classics in a film class several months later.

I watched that Beta tape once, and never felt a need to see it again. And it's rather astonishing how far down this critically hailed film's reputation has gone. For its time, it marked the emergence of a new male image: the non-macho man of the 80s who feels free to display some normally female traits, like sensitivity and shopping and seeing his child to and from school safely. As well as trials and tribulations of single parenthood. Well, that redefinition of masculinity almost immediately went out the window with the election of a new president. Testosterone and T-bone steaks still reigned supreme, and the epithet "wimp" came back stronger than ever.

I still remember my second viewing of this movie, just shortly out of the theaters and available to the 16-millimeter student cinema groups at universities everywhere. The audience was booing and hissing Streep's character when she came back to claim hers and Hoffman's child, and particularly during the climactic courtroom scene. They saw her as the heavy who just up and abandoned her family. Not that I found this especially revolting, but this viewing experience was unanticipated.

I saw it again just two weeks ago with my folks; my father tuned it in about a quarter of the way into the film. It still flowed beautifully right through to the end, and it seemed an utterly magnificent three-fourth's of a movie. I'd love to watch it again, complete of course; just not right now.
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Dustin Hoffman rocks & gets rocked in 1970's NYC Ad World
ebcarrier17 September 2007
This is probably the best cinematic depiction of life in a Manhattan ad agency: the pressure to perform; client and agency demands; the parties; the creativity; the money; the cool surface with powerful corporate undercurrents.

Toss in parenthood for Dustin Hoffman.

The movie is textured and deep. It follows his internal relationship as he tries to understand and live with what's going on; his relationship with Meryl Streep (and her friend, who becomes his friend), and his the relationship with his son.

While Meryl Streep was great, did she set the record for least screen time to win an Oscar? She sure can deliver when she is on, though.
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One of Hoffman's bests
OriginalMovieBuff2114 April 2005
Kramer vs. Kramer is one film to hold on too and not forget. It isn't one of the most popular films ever made and is certainly one of the weakest best picture films, but it does not mean it still isn't important. I thought the movie was well done and made you just want to watch more and more of it. The performances were the best positive for the film and Dustin Hoffman played one of his best roles he's ever done as the lonely workaholic who has to take care of his son, as his wife separates from him. Billy, who is Hoffman's son, played another great performance along with Meryl Streep, playing the depressed mother of Billy. Kramer vs. Kramer is not one of the greatest films and is not a perfect 10, but it succeeds in making the film worth watching and worth caring about it. Certainly, one of Hoffman's best films he's ever done. I highly recommend it.

Hedeen's Outlook: 9/10 ***+ A-
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A Thoughtful, Touching Drama
spotatoes5 July 2018
When it was first released, the subject matter of Kramer Vs. Kramer was not as commonplace as it is today, and so there was some shock value in it. As a viewer today, since something like fifty percent of marriages end in divorce, that shock, small as it was, has now completely disappeared. Maybe that's lost the film a sliver of its power, but, there is still enough here to make it compelling.

The performances of Hoffman and Streep are utterly brilliant, conveying comprehensively the raw emotion involved in such a set of circumstances, and Justin Henry is outstanding as Billy.

This is a tearjerker, but the tears come organically as a result of the story being told, and it never feels mawkish or manipulative in any way.

So many films like this have resorted to sentimentality and to taking sides, but Kramer Vs. Kramer doesn't do that. It just uses a careful script, enhanced by deft direction, performed by truly great actors, to tell an honest and affecting story. If you haven't seen it, firstly, where have you been? And secondly, search it out and was it. It's pretty wonderful.
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a rip-off, but a great one
schles-112 March 2006
Although credit should have been given to Dr. Seuess for stealing the story-line of "Horton Hatches The Egg", this was a fine film. It touched both the emotions and the intellect. Due especially to the incredible performance of seven year old Justin Henry and a script that was sympathetic to each character (and each one's predicament), the thought provoking elements linger long after the tear jerking ones are over. Overall, superior acting from a solid cast, excellent directing, and a very powerful script. The right touches of humor throughout help keep a "heavy" subject from becoming tedious or difficult to sit through. Lastly, this film stands the test of time and seems in no way dated, decades after it was released.
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Le Divorce Et L'Infant
Chrysanthepop11 July 2008
One word that comes to mind when describing 'Kramer vs. Kramer' is terrific. Benton's direction and screenplay are solid but what also seems to have worked very well was that he gave his actors the freedom to improvise and was open to their suggestions. Not once, does the film lose focus (credit goes to the fine editing department). It's very much a character driven drama with fabulous acting. Perhaps, it's the freedom the actors had which makes their performances look more natural and their on screen interactions very real. I wonder how cathartic it was for the great Dustin Hoffman to play Ted Kramer as he himself was going through a rough divorce. A brilliant Meryl Streep too was still in the grieving process of having lost her loved one. The fabulous Jane Alexander seems to have a comfortable off screen interaction with her co-stars and she too did a lot of improvisation. The same can be said for child actor Justin Henry. The result is excellent performances by all four actors. The whimsical score (that comprises of famous numbers from composers like Vivaldi) beautifully adds to the mood. These days court room divorce dramas have become quite popular on TV but they lack the authenticity, humbleness and simplicity of 'Kramer vs Kramer'.
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see you in the morning light..
Arth_Joshi19 December 2017
Kramer VS. Kramer

How often do you watch a movie and fall into its world from the first frame till the end credits? Kramer VS. Kramer is one of those rare masterpiece that is innocent even though it raises some delicate questions about society. Dustin Hofmann holds our little finger and walks us through the movie all on his own to the other side of the road where Meryl Streep is waiting for us to mesmerize us. Kramer VS. Kramer is a fine example of the art that cinema is with its unpredictable and surprisingly beautiful script.
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Good but flawed
JerryWeaver4 March 2002
Warning: Spoilers
This is a good movie, with excellent performances by Dustin Hoffman, Jane Alexander, and the kid Justin Henry. However, unfortunately Meryl Streep's role isn't really very developed and we don't get to understand very well what is going on with her.

The film shows the agony of people going through a contested Court battle over custody. Although the agony is very real for those going through this, it needs to be noted that the more modern approach to a custody dispute is to require the parties to mediate their differences. By stressing the concept of "parenting time", in which time with the child is divided in a reasonable way between the two parents, as opposed to the "either-or" choice depicted in the film, differences can often be worked out in mediation by simply working out a schedule of who has the child when.

SPOILER COMING UP Another problem with the film is the screenwriter's assumption that the mother should receive custody unless she is unfit. This has not been the law for many, many years, if indeed it ever was. In this situation, where the child had bonded so wonderfully with his father, it seems doubtful that even the older Judges would award custody to the mother. Judges will usually continue whatever the status quo arrangement has been, if it is working, as it was in the film. Certainly the mother would not be permitted to come in and litigate custody, simply because she has changed her mind. Rather, it is necessary to show a "change of circumstances" to even get into Court.

The story is told from a decidedly upper middle class viewpoint. Both parents have good jobs, and the film seems to accept the idea that a person's worth as a parent is determined by how good of a job he or she has. During the Court hearing, when the mother says how much she is making, the camera shows the father's surprised reaction. The mother's attorney is eliciting this information to show how she has "gotten herself together", and therefore should now be granted custody. And when the father loses his job right before the hearing, he desperately finds another one because he "knows" he has no chance at custody unless he has a good job. And then during the hearing, the mother's attorney derides him for making less than he had previously made.

I submit that this viewpoint is just plain false. One's worth as a parent does not depend on how much money one makes! Indeed, it could be argued that the reverse is actually true, in that the less time spent on making a living, the more time and energy one has to devote to the care of one's children. The issue is not who has the best job, but who can best care for the children. Who is the most willing to go the parent-teacher conferences, take the children to the doctor, read to them a story at bedtime, etc.

Despite the various flaws in the film, it still rates an 8 out of 10 due to the very strong performances, and the wonderful way it shows the developing relationship between a father and his son.
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Split Decision
tedg7 March 2010
This drama is considered successful. I think it is not because it tells us anything special, or that the characters are particularly worthy.

I believe it is because of the way the narrative is constructed. It has two arcs.

One of these has the husband establishing the world. We follow only him, spending time understanding what he is about and how he adapts. Against this domestic environment, the wife has only one speech. This is in a café. She tells us ahead of time that it is a speech that she has prepared and practiced. This is purely within the real world. Since we are presented the man's world only, this insight-by-reactive-speech is unbalanced. We strive to understand. In the end, she succumbs to the guy's reality.

By itself, this narrative arc would be insufficient.

The second arc is the trial. We know courtrooms in film. We know what they mean. They place us as the jury. We cannot leave the theater without making a judgment. In this, our woman also has only one speech.

What makes this work, I believe, is how one layer is imposed on the other. It works less well today that when it was new. In part this is because we've worn out the power of the courtroom genre. When this was fresh, the simple appearance of the place and its rituals would be enough to convey an entire narrative dynamic.

The other is that when it was new, it was a novel idea that a woman could have her own inner life. Believe me, this was true. So the unusual nature of her leaving and her speeches provided a balance because they were so extraordinary. The insertion of a "sexually liberated" woman to sleep once with Hoffman's character — and the fact that she was a lawyer — underscored this urge.

But today, that balancing mechanism is gone. We see today a film about a guy and not a marriage. The balanced dynamic between the two people is gone. The balanced dynamic between the two story arcs is gone as well.

Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
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Family movie about an advertising executive in which drama takes place when the wife decides to leave him
ma-cortes7 February 2013
This family drama results to a highly acclaimed film that deal with Ted (Dustin Hoffman, James Caan was offered the role of Ted Kramer, but turned it down) , a just-divorced man who must learn to care for his son (Justin Henry) on his own when their wife (Meryl Streep shot her scenes for Manhattan during breaks in filming and Meryl was originally cast in the role of Ted's one-night-stand, eventually played by JoBeth Williams) and mother leaves . There subsequently takes place the ordinary battle for custody when she returns . And then must fight in court to keep custody of him .

Moving and dramatic picture based on the novel by Avery Corman with an excellent plethora of players who give exacting interpretations . It successfully moves you from laughter to tears and back again . Very good acting by Dustin Hoffman as an adverting executive husband , he deservedly won Academy Award and Meryl Streep as his wife and mother who leaves on quest to find herself and also won Oscar to best support actress . Justin Henry was Oscar nominated for the Best Supporting Actor Academy Award, Henry at age 8 became the youngest ever person to be nominated for this award as well as the youngest ever Oscar nominee in any category, a record which still stands today . Magnificent support cast , such as Jane Alexander as Margaret Phelps , Howard Duff as John Shaunessy , George Coe as Jim O'Connor and JoBeth Williams , whose funny nude scene was optically darkened for the film's theatrical run, to avoid an R rating. Classic soundtrack , as the music played during the opening credits is Antonio Vivaldi's Mandolin Concerto . Colorful cinematography by Nestor Almendros ; director Robert Benton advised cinematographer to base the look and color of the film on the paintings of Piero Della Francesca , Almendros also used the work of David Hockney as an inspiration, and designed a realistic look, using source lighting in rooms with ceilings and available light in exteriors . First of two back-to-back consecutive movies to win the Academy Award for Best Picture that was a contemporary film drama about interpersonal relationships and family bonds , the next year's winner was Ordinary People directed by Robert Redford . Ranked #3 on the American Film Institute's list of the 10 greatest films in the genre "Courtroom Drama" and was the highest-grossing movie of 1979.

The motion picture was compellingly directed by Robert Benton . Texas director has a varied career as he was an editor of magazine , production designer , set decorator and has written a number of imaginative stories for children . He realized few movies even accounting for those in whose screenplays he wrote as ¨Bonnie and Clyde¨ , ¨There was a crooked man¨ , ¨What's up doc ?¨ , ¨Superman¨ and even ¨Still of the night¨ . His big hit as director was this Weepie ¨Kramer vs Kramer¨ and won him the Oscar for writing and direction , the next was warm-hearted ¨Places in the heart¨ with basic human values and revealed his softer side . Following filmmaking the underrated ¨Nadine¨ , a comic-strip comedy with Jeff Bridges and Kim Basinger and ¨Still of the night¨ was a failure and turned out to be a flop at the box office . After that , he directed a gangster movie ¨Billy Bathgate¨ with Nicole Kidman and Dustin Hoffman , ¨Nobody's fool¨ which won Paul Newman an Academy Award nomination and he worked again with Benton four years later on ¨Twilight¨ . Rating : Notable ,above average . The picture will appeal to Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep fans .
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Hubby and spouse have a falling out
helpless_dancer17 November 2000
What a great film. Everyone in this one turned in a flawless performance in a story dedicated to showing the ugliness of divorce. This was a solid, serious movie but it also had a humorous side as Hoffman had me rolling the floor as he dealt with fatherhood, completely, for the first time. I especially found the french toast scene roaringly funny. 4 stars.
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How to present serious subject matter
JamesCinemaFan17 March 2019
When I first saw Kramer vs. Kramer, it was extremely painful for me. And that's a good thing. The movie covers its difficult topic about as well as it can be covered. It doesn't offer any easy answers, like so many similar movies. Thus it respects the subject matter and presents hard emotional truths for us to swallow. And that is how a person can develop a wise heart. Ideally, all movies would be working toward promoting the right emotional and intellectual responses in all of us, instead of desensitizing us toward serious human issues and rendering us apathetic and stupid. Kramer vs. Kramer demonstrates how a movie, simply by provoking the right questions and framing issues discerningly, does not have to offer many explicit answers to be extremely meaningful and constructive. And, in a way, doing that is an answer to life's problems. Perhaps one of the most important kinds of answers of all. Marvelous leading performances by Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman and Justin Henry. Great character acting from the rest of the cast. A superb movie in every respect.
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Kramer vs. Kramer is greatly enriched by its exceptional cast. Great film.
robfollower15 February 2019
Joanna Kramer (Meryl Streep) walks out on her advertising-art-director husband Michael (Dustin Hoffman). Though he is obviously insensitive to everyone's feelings but his own, Michael has not lost his wife because of this; she simply wants to go out and "find herself". Also left behind is the Kramers' 6-year-old son Billy (Justin Henry), whom Michael barely knows. At first, both father and son resent each other's company, but before long they have formed a strong bond of love and mutual respect. So devoted a father does Michael become that he begins neglecting his work and loses his job. Suddenly, Joanna reenters his life, announcing that she now has a well-paying job herself, and wants full custody of Billy.

The divorce subject isn't as shocking, but the film is still a thoughtful, well-acted drama that resists the urge to take sides or give easy answers.

An incredible moneymaker, Kramer vs. Kramer also did well for itself at Oscar time, winning awards for Best Picture, Best Actor (Hoffman), Best Supporting Actress (Streep), Best Screenplay and Best Director.

Kramer vs. Kramer is greatly enriched by its exceptional cast. Great film.
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Brilliantly acted. Not sure how I feel about the ending, but the whole film certainly leaves a lot to chew on
joelwatchesmovies7 January 2019
On the one hand Joanna is a fascinating character-an enigma, full of pain and repressed desires. Yet at the same time I can't help but wonder if the film, by leaving her to the bookends, reduced her to the mere emotional and irrational woman trope, saved at the end by the easily redeemed (it is admittedly a poignant journey through parenthood) formerly absent husband and father. This issue aside, it's certainly clear at least that each and every individual scene is written and acted marvelously.
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