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Kramer vs. Kramer
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Kramer vs. Kramer

4.2 4
Director: Robert Benton, Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Justin Henry

Cast: Robert Benton, Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Justin Henry

 

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Robert Benton's Oscar-winning adaptation of Avery Corman's bestseller takes on contemporary problems of divorce and shifting gender roles, as a jilted husband learns how to be a nurturing father. Manhattan housewife Joanna Kramer (Meryl Streep) walks out on her workaholic ad man husband Ted (Dustin Hoffman), leaving their young son Billy (Justin Henry) in Ted's less

Overview

Robert Benton's Oscar-winning adaptation of Avery Corman's bestseller takes on contemporary problems of divorce and shifting gender roles, as a jilted husband learns how to be a nurturing father. Manhattan housewife Joanna Kramer (Meryl Streep) walks out on her workaholic ad man husband Ted (Dustin Hoffman), leaving their young son Billy (Justin Henry) in Ted's less than capable hands. Through trial and error, Ted learns how to take care of Billy, devoting more energy to his family than to his work, and finally losing his high-powered job because of his new priorities. When Joanna returns with her own lucrative job and the intent to take custody of Billy, Ted finds employment that won't interfere with his paternal duties. Even though he proves that he can do it all, Joanna still wins in court. Joanna, however, rethinks her desires when she finally grasps how close father and son have become. Addressing the male side of the self-actualization question, previously explored from the female perspective in such 1970s movies as An Unmarried Woman (1978), Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974), and The Turning Point (1977), Kramer focuses on Ted's evolution from absent parent to ideal father, as he learns to balance domestic and professional lives in the shifting late-1970s social landscape. Joanna's attempt to achieve the same, however, gets buried; only Streep's sensitive performance prevents Joanna from seeming an unsympathetic harridan. Critics praised the film's realistic depiction of Ted's travails, as well as the three lead actors' work; and audiences, perhaps facing the same questions of divorce and self-realization, turned it into a box-office smash. It went on to win five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actress.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Quite a portrait of modern family dysfunction, Robert Benton's adaptation of the Avery Corman novel hit a nerve with audiences for its frank take on a condition affecting them in increasing numbers: divorce. Nonetheless, it's an uneven film, not in terms of quality, but balance; the film truly belongs to Dustin Hoffman's Ted Kramer, whose travails take center stage as Meryl Streep's Joanna Kramer disappears for large portions of the film. Only a few instances of Ted's short temper fuel any sort of backlash against an otherwise endearing paternal figure, while the audience is given far less cause to sympathize with Joanna, whose reasons for leaving Ted (and more importantly, son Billy) are never explored. It's the strange transfigurations of Ted's life that make Kramer vs. Kramer such an interesting study, such as when a court-ordered deadline forces him into the office of an executive, in the waning hours before the Christmas holiday, to practically beg for a job for which he is overqualified. While there's no reason Ted's story alone should not be the focus, the film's title suggests a war waged with equal ammunition by two wronged parties, and Kramer vs. Kramer is not such a film. The dismissal of Streep's character makes the overly pat ending less forgivable as well. But the actors' note-perfect performances -- and the way the script lays bare the desperate machinations of an increasingly common and normalized legal process -- make this an enduring work.

Product Details

Release Date:
02/17/2009
UPC:
0043396295308
Original Release:
1979
Rating:
PG
Source:
Sony Pictures
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Sound:
[Dolby AC-3 Surround Sound]
Time:
1:45:00
Sales rank:
22,706

Special Features

Documentary: "Finding the Truth: The Making of Kramer vs Kramer"

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Dustin Hoffman Ted Kramer
Meryl Streep Joanna Kramer
Justin Henry Billy Kramer
Jane Alexander Margaret Phelps
Howard Duff John Shaunessy
JoBeth Williams Phyllis Bernard
George Coe Jim O'Connor
Bill Moor Gressen
Howland Chamberlain Judge Atkins
Jack Ramage Spencer
Jess Osuna Ackerman
Nicholas Hormann Interviewer
Ellen Parker Teacher
Shelby Brammer Ted's Secretary
Joe Seneca Partygoer
David Golden Grocer
David Gilbert Voice Only

Technical Credits
Robert Benton Director,Screenwriter
Nestor Almendros Cinematographer
David Golden Production Manager
Jerry Greenberg Editor
Alan Hicks Set Decoration/Design
Stanley Jaffe Producer
John Kander Score Composer
Ruth Morley Costumes/Costume Designer
Shirley Rich Casting
Paul Sylbert Production Designer
Allen Weisinger Makeup

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Kramer vs. Kramer 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 4 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It just goes to show you, a good story, good acting, good directing you don't need CGI, car chases, explosions or profanity to make a great movie.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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