Kramer vs. Kramer
Release year: 1979
Director: Robert Benton
Screenwriter: Robert Benton, Avery Corman (from the novel by)
Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Justin Henry, Jane Alexander, Meryl Streep, Howard Duff, George Coe, JoBeth Williams
Ratings: 5 Oscars: Best Film, Best Actor (Dustin Hoffman), Best Supporting Actress (Meryl Streep), Best Director, best Adapted Screenplay. 4 Oscar nominations: Best Supporting Actor (Justin Henry), Best Supporting Actress (Jane Alexander), Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing. 4 Golden Globes: Best Actor Drama (Dustin Hoffman), Best Supporting Actress (Meryl Streep), Best Screenplay, Best Picture Drama. 4 Golden Globe nominations: Best Director, Best Supporting Actress (Jane Alexander), Best Supporting Actor (Justin Henry), Best New Male Star of the Year (Justin Henry).
As Ted Kramer’s (Hoffman) wife Joanna (Streep) leaves him and their son Billy (Henry), Ted and Billy struggles to come to terms with their new life together. Ted makes Billy a priority and the two find a rhythm and creates a strong and loving bond. But then almost two years later Joanna returns and informs she wants Billy.
Kramer vs. Kramer is perhaps the most known movie today reflecting the shift in ideas about motherhood and fatherhood that changed during the 1970s. It is also one of the better movies dealing with divorce and custody battle, mainly because it has its focus on the relationship between parent and child. In fact, the court room scenes are just a small part of the movie, the main part is watching the relationship between Billy and his father develop and grow, a fact that makes the movie a very touching watch. However, as good as the story is, it is unsure whether you would ever have heard about this movie, if it wasn’t for the fact that it shows some of the very best performances by to very talented actors: Hoffman (Tootsie, 1982) and the impeccable Streep (Out of Africa, 1985), both won their first Oscar for the movie and well deserved so. Young Henry (Sixteen Candles, 1984) also received an Oscar nomination for a touching performance that drives Hoffman’s performance in many ways. Henry and Streep may evolve around Hoffman as the only main character, but both are so outstanding that they still take up almost as much space. The movie gives what seems like a realistic glimpse into a broken family struggling to make things work and the pace allows the characters to develop emotionally. It is a good movie and a good story, but what makes it stand out is without any doubt the stellar performances from the cast.
When Justin Henry was nominated for an Oscar at the age of eight, he became the youngest Oscar nominee ever, a record he still holds.
Streep wasn’t happy with the court room speech written for her character and was allowed to rewrite it.
The movie is famously known for the bad way Hoffman allegedly treated Streep leading to her refusing to ever work with him again.
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Picture copyrights: Sony Pictures