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Kramer Vs. Kramer

A movie directed by Robert Benton

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Sometimes mommies leave home

  • Jul 6, 2000
Pros: Informative and well acted

Cons: ......

Who would assume this film, released in 1979, would 20 years later pretty much sum up a good deal of American households?

An unlikely marriage of Hoffman and Streep but they played wonderfully off each other. Streep always seems so cool and reserved where Hoffman is usually brash and extroverted. Almost reverse roles in this movie.

Winning 5 Academy Awards and nominated for 4 more didn't hurt this flick a bit. At just a tad over 1-1/2 hours running time, director R. Benton, coupled with the fine actors, manages to make you laugh, cry, rejoice, stomp your feet in rage and applaud with glee. You are wrung through every emotion known.

While this might be considered a 'chick flick' because of the guaranteed necessity of a hanky, this movie could easily be enjoyed by the entire family and should durn near be required by marriage counselors to their clients even if it is dated.

Itty Bitty Background
Hoffman is a successful art director at an ad agency in New York. He is so immersed in his work, he does not see his marriage falling apart. Coming home from work one evening he finds Streeps' bags piled by the door. She turns to him and says 'I'm leaving you' and out the door she goes, leaving him and their small son behind.

Hoffman is suddenly faced with something women are faced with everyday - running a home, caring for a child and holding down a demanding job.

He has to cook and has no idea where or what a pan is. He has to clean. He has laundry, babysitters, mommy groups, play groups, school, illnesses, doctors appointments, school programs and extracurricular activities. He has a child that looks at him with liquid eyes and wants to know where mommy is and why she doesn't love him anymore.

Somewhere he has to squeeze in his job.

The job loses out.

One day Streep is back. She is successful, she has a job, she has 'found herself', she has stature, and she wants her son back. And so begins the trial and the tears of a very memorable film.

Dustin Hoffman (best actor), Meryl Streep (best supporting actress), Justin Henry (nominated best supporting actor - quite a fete for one so young), Howard Duff, JoBeth Williams, Jane Alexander (nominated best supporting actress)


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Susi Dawson ()
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About this movie


Robert Benton's moving and well-observed adaptation of Avery Corman's novel about the aftermath of divorce stars Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep as the separating couple, Ted and Joanna Kramer. When dutiful wife and mother Joanna decides to leave Ted, an advertising executive, she also leaves him with the responsibility of caring for their young son, Billy (Justin Henry). The situation proves to be especially difficult since the workaholic father has never really taken care of the boy and, in truth, barely knows him. Things are rough at first, but as the two become accustomed to life without Joanna and Ted's caretaking skills improve, father and son finally develop a relationship. As Ted devotes more time to his son and less to his work, however, the latter suffers, and Ted's subsequent firing coincides with the return of Joanna, who wants her son back. <br> <br> Despite the titular framing of a custody trial, KRAMER VS. KRAMER steps lightly around the complex issue, essentially concerning itself with t...
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Director: Robert Benton
Release Date: 1979
MPAA Rating: PG
DVD Release Date: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment (August 28, 2001)
Runtime: 1hr 45min
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