It might have started out as a small, rather arty divorce drama but Kramer vs Kramer was the biggest cinema hit of 1979. It confirmed Dustin Hoffman's status as a major star in a performance that combined his trademark twitchy intensity with deep sensitivity. And it provided Meryl Streep with a pivotal role in her rise to big-screen greatness. Both won Oscars, as did director Robert Benton and the film itself scooped the Best Picture award. Kramer vs Kramer has worn well into the 21st century. Although clearly of its time--by the late 1970s, microscopic relationship... analysis had become the theme of commercial cinema--it stands on the strength of its central performances. Hoffman's Ted Kramer is a vision of the Graduate grown up: serious, focused and thrown by anything that threatens his upwardly mobile professional trajectory. The news that his wife, who he has failed to notice teetering on the edge of a breakdown, is leaving him and their son sends him into a tailspin. The film is as much about his resilience and fulfilment as it is the story of a divorce and custody battle. Justin Henry is extraordinary as Billy, the boy caught in the middle, and turns in a remarkably complex, thoughtful performance, which is light years from the archetypal all-American kid you might anticipate. And in just a handful of scenes, Streep is mesmerising as Joanna, the deserting wife and mother who you just can't bring yourself to hate. Yes, this is soap opera. But it belongs up there with all the finest cinematic human dramas. On the DVD: The widescreen presentation ensures a theatrically authentic experience, with some fantastic shots of New York city coming into their own. The mono sound is adequate for the relative intimacy of most of the dialogue. But the real bonus is the retrospective documentary in which director and writer Benton, producer Stanley Jaffe and the cast look back with touching satisfaction at a piece which clearly meant a great deal to them all. Hoffman's initial reluctance (he was going through a real-life divorce) to get involved, the process of working with a gifted child actor and Streep's desire to make Joanna understood are all recalled in fascinating detail. --Piers Ford [show more]
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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.
Please note this is a region 2 DVD and will require a region 2 (Europe) or region Free DVD Player in order to play A just divorced man must learn to care for his son on his own and then must fight in court to keep custody of him