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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags have been used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for Kramer vs Kramer can be found here.
New York advertising executive Ted Kramer (Dustin Hoffman) and his wife Joanna (Meryl Streep) have recently separated, leaving Ted to care for their 5-1/2 year old son Billy (Justin Henry). Fifteen (15) months later, Joanna suddenly reappears, wanting Billy back and forcing them to go to court to fight for custody.
Kramer vs Kramer is, indeed, a book by American novelist Avery Corman. The novel was adapted for the movie by American screenwriter/director Robert Benton. The movie wound up winning the Academy Award for Best Film of 1979.
Several days pass while the court deliberates. When the decision finally comes through, it's not in Ted's favor. Custody of Billy is awarded to Joanna, on grounds that a mother is the best parent. Ted is ordered to pay $400/month in child support. He is awarded the right to visit with Billy one night a week, two weekends a month, and during half of Billy's school vacation. Ted wonders about appealing, but his lawyer points out that Billy will have to take the stand this time, and Ted can't see doing this to his son. On the day that Joanna comes to pick up Billy, Ted and Billy make French toast together. When Joanna arrives, she calls from the lobby and asks Ted to come down and talk with her. In a surprising twist, Joanna decides not to take Billy with her, having come to the conclusion that his true home is with Ted. In the final scene, Joanna gets in the elevator to go up and talk with Billy. As she wipes the tears from her eyes, she asks how she looks. 'Terrific,' Ted replies, while the elevator doors close.
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