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>
"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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