It’s no Daddy Day Care… thank god.
Directed by: Robert Benton
Written by: Avery Corman (novel), Robert Benton (screenplay)
Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep and Jane Alexander
While one of the highlights of Kramer vs. Kramer would be Dustin Hoffman’s old-school jeans and haircut, the film’s look at divorce and parenting is as relevant to us today as it was back in the late 70’s. With Hoffman’s natural likeability and Streep’s moving performance (which is able to turn what could have otherwise been a ridiculously annoying character), Kramer vs. Kramer portrays the anxieties of being a good parent, whilst still being able to fulfill ambitions in your career and other personal pursuits. For Ted Kramer (Hoffman), all these things become increasingly interconnected and ultimately in support of the most important thing in his life – his son.
When Ted Kramer (Hoffman) is left by his wife, Joanna (Streep), to raise their only child, he is overwhelmed by the responsibilities of parenting that he had neglected during his marriage, and how little he knew about his wife and child. But when Joanna comes back to claim custody over their son, Ted finds himself fighting passionately to continue being a full-time father.
While the story doesn’t go beyond the safe borders of convention that you would expect, it is characterized by the distinctness of the characters, their interaction and the dramatically charged way in which the story unfolds. It is compelling to the very end, and while the twist can appear too simplistic, this doesn’t take away from its impact and the film’s deeply moving qualities.