Ted Kramer's wife leaves her husband, allowing for a lost bond to be rediscovered between Ted and his son, Billy. But a heated custody battle ensues over the divorced couple's son, deepening the wounds left by the separation.
Ted Kramer is a career man for whom his work comes before his family. His wife Joanna cannot take this anymore, so she decides to leave him. Ted is now faced with the tasks of housekeeping and taking care of himself and their young son Billy. When he has learned to adjust his life to these new responsibilities, Joanna resurfaces and wants Billy back. Ted, however, refuses to give him up, so they go to court to fight for the custody of their son. Written by
Leon Wolters <wolters@strw.LeidenUniv.nl>
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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