Ted Kramer's wife leaves him, 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>
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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