KRAMER VS. KRAMER is a film everyone should see. I watched it for the first time and I was amazed at how relevant it still is (film was made in 1979). A film more than just about divorce, it's a story about a man who falls in love with his son. He realizes that their relationship is the most important thing in his life. By finding joy in fatherhood, he becomes more than just the family provider. Watching this movie made me confront my feelings. It made me feel.
Having grown up in a blessedly unbroken home, I have no personal experience with warring parents or custody battles, but the emotions reflected in the movie seem genuine. Divorce is awful. When children are involved it's even worse. According to the numbers, more than half of all marriages now end in divorce, yet there are few films that deal with it. Too grim and depressing, I guess. Any parents thinking of divorce should be court-ordered to watch "Kramer vs. Kramer." After seeing it, if there is even a dim chance of reconciliation, they'll take it, rather than inflict their separation upon their children. That's how powerful this movie is.
The movie is powerful because first we see the building of a relationship that sprouts out of a bad one. Then we see the manipulation tactics used in the court; Dustin Hoffman can't get his true feelings out because of the prosecutor. Then we see the tear jerking ending, which is kind of predictable, but I will not spoil.
The film opens with Ted (Hoffman) landing the major ad account he's been working to close for months. When he arrives home, he's so excited about the news he doesn't notice his wife Joanna (Streep) has a bag packed and ready by the door. She interrupts him, crushing his celebration with news of her own; her personality shows very good in this situation. She's leaving him. This is the first indication that she's unhappy in the marriage. Of course, he's never home to hear her. So,...