Kramer vs. Kramer [DVD] 
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Dustin Hoffman stars in this drama directed by Robert Benton. Ted Kramer (Hoffman) is an art director for an ad agency. His whole world changes when his wife (Meryl Streep) walks out on him, leaving Ted to care for their young son. The additional strain causes Ted to lose his job, although being forced to spend more time with the boy cements their relationship drawing them closer together. When his wife reappears, demanding custody of the child, Ted decides to fight and is forced to hire an expensive attorney. The film won five Academy Awards including Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Director for Benton, Best Actor for Hoffman and Best Supporting Actress for Streep.
Winner of five Academy Awards including Best Picture, Actor, and Screenplay, Kramer vs. Kramer remains as powerfully moving today as it was when released in 1979, simply because its drama will remain relevant for couples of any generation. Adapted by director Robert Benton from the novel by Avery Corman, this is perhaps the finest, most evenly balanced film ever made about the failure of marriage and the tumultuous shift of parental roles. It begins when Joanna Kramer (Meryl Streep) bluntly informs her husband Ted (Dustin Hoffman) that she's leaving him, just as his advertising career is advancing and demanding most of his waking hours. Self-involvement is just one of the film's underlying themes, along with the search for identity that prompts Joanna to leave Ted with their first-grade son (Justin Henry), who now finds himself living with a workaholic parent he barely knows. Juggling his domestic challenge with professional deadlines, Ted is further pressured when his wife files for custody of their son. This legal battle forms the dramatic spine of the film, but its power is derived from Benton's flawlessly observant script and the superlative performances of his entire cast. Because Benton refuses to assign blame and deals fairly with both sides of a devastating dilemma, the film arrives at equal levels of pain, growth, and integrity under emotionally stressful circumstances. That gives virtually every scene the unmistakable ring of truth--a quality of dramatic honestly that makes Kramer vs. Kramer not merely a classic tearjerker, but one of the finest American dramas of its decade. --Jeff Shannon, Amazon.com --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
As for the upgrade to Blu-ray, it's quite impressive. The soundtrack is a little more fresh, but it's the difference in video quality that'll suck you in. The DVD version is completely watchable, but this print is absolutely pristine. There isn't a scratch or flicker in it, and it has the 'right amount' of grain for a film of it's age; it's kept the atmosphere that a lot of recent films lack. The film's mostly pale palette appears to have found a new life.
You'll notice the difference.
Nonetheless, it's an uneven film, not in terms of quality, but balance; the film truly belongs to Dustin Hoffman's performance of Ted Kramer, who takes centre 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, her son) are never really 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, this was probably my favourite bit of the film and it really made me smile.
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.
But the actors' perfect performances, and the way the script lays bare the despair and emotional warfare of an increasingly common and normalized legal process certainly makes me see why this film is considered a classic.
friendship, and above all parenthood. This is the film where Robert
Benton's complex humanism really comes to full flower.
In a situation that almost demands taking sides - a sudden divorce
leading to an unprepared father taking over childcare only to be
challenged for custody when the mother returns 18 months later - Benton
manages to make everyone a complex human being, with strengths and
weaknesses, trying their best to do the right thing in a painful, messy
Hoffman, who has been brilliant so many times playing characters far
from himself is perhaps the most moving he's ever been playing a
character that director Benton described as really, honestly playing
himself - perhaps the hardest character of all. Streep takes a woman
who could have easily come off as the villain of the piece, and makes
you understand her actions - - even abandoning her little boy. Jane
Alexander is wonderful and subtle as the slowly developing friend
Hoffman makes as a single father, and young Justin Henry is utterly
real in a way few child actors are as the 7 year old stuck in the
middle. It's also beautifully, if understatedly shot by Nestor
It's flaws are minor. Some of the supporting roles, while played by
terrific character actors, are a bit more one note and characturish
than they need be. And some of the courtroom theatrics feel just a tiny
bit... well, theatrical.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If u like weapy films this is a killer bet u will bawl eyes out
A real weepie at times, Hoffman is great in every film, he just morphs right into the characterPublished 6 months ago by Helen
Found at the right time when needing to watch for a film class screening, brilliant film and great screenplay. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Troy