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Kramer vs. Kramer

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60030
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Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)

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Additional Information
There are three sides to this love story!

Robert Benton's Oscar-winning adaptation of Avery Corman's bestseller takes on contemporary problems of divorce and shifting gender roles, as a jilted husband learns how to be a nurturing father. Manhattan housewife Joanna Kramer (Meryl Streep) walks out on her workaholic ad man husband Ted (Dustin Hoffman), leaving their young son Billy (Justin Henry) in Ted's less than capable hands. Through trial and error, Ted learns how to take care of Billy, devoting more energy to his family than to his work, and finally losing his high-powered job because of his new priorities. When Joanna returns with her own lucrative job and the intent to take custody of Billy, Ted finds employment that won't interfere with his paternal duties. Even though he proves that he can do it all, Joanna still wins in court. Joanna, however, rethinks her desires when she finally grasps how close father and son have become. Addressing the male side of the self-actualization question, previously explored from the female perspective in such 1970s movies as An Unmarried Woman (1978), Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974), and The Turning Point (1977), Kramer focuses on Ted's evolution from absent parent to ideal father, as he learns to balance domestic and professional lives in the shifting late-1970s social landscape. Joanna's attempt to achieve the same, however, gets buried; only Streep's sensitive performance prevents Joanna from seeming an unsympathetic harridan. Critics praised the film's realistic depiction of Ted's travails, as well as the three lead actors' work; and audiences, perhaps facing the same questions of divorce and self-realization, turned it into a box-office smash. It went on to win five Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actress

Ted Kramer (Dustin Hoffman) is a workaholic advertising executive who has just been assigned a new and very important account. Ted arrives home and shares the good news with his wife Joanna (Meryl Streep) only to find that she is leaving him. Saying that she needs to find herself, she leaves Ted to raise their son Billy (Justin Henry) by himself. Ted and Billy initially resent one another as Ted no longer has time to carry his increased workload and Billy misses his mother's love and attention. After months of unrest, Ted and Billy learn to cope and gradually bond as father and son.
Ted befriends his neighbor Margaret (Jane Alexander), who had initially counseled Joanna to leave Ted if she was that unhappy. Margaret is a fellow single parent, and she and Ted become kindred spirits. One day, as the two sit in the park watching their children play, Billy falls off the jungle gym, severely cutting his face. Ted sprints several blocks through oncoming traffic carrying Billy to the hospital, where he comforts his son during treatment.
Fifteen months after she walked out, Joanna returns to New York to claim Billy, and a custody battle ensues. During the custody hearing, both Ted and Joanna are unprepared for the brutal character assassinations that their lawyers unleash on the other. Margaret is forced to testify that she had advised an unhappy Joanna to leave Ted, though she also attempts to tell Joanna on the stand that her husband has profoundly changed. Eventually, the damaging facts that Ted was fired because of his conflicting parental responsibilities, forcing him to take a lower-paid job, come out in court, as do the details of Billy's accident.
The court awards custody to Joanna, a decision mostly based on the assumption that a child is best raised by his mother. Ted discusses appealing the case, but his lawyer warns that Billy himself would have to take the stand in the resulting trial. Ted cannot bear the thought of submitting his child to such an ordeal and decides not to contest custody.
On the morning that Billy is to move in with Joanna, Ted and Billy make breakfast together, mirroring the meal that Ted tried to cook the first morning after Joanna left. They share a tender hug knowing that this is their last daily breakfast together. Joanna calls on the intercom, asking Ted to come down to the lobby. She tells Ted how much she loves and wants Billy, but she knows his true home is with Ted. She will therefore not take him. As she enters the elevator to go and talk to Billy, she asks her ex-husband "How do I look?" The movie ends with the elevator doors closing on the emotional Joanna, right after Ted answers, "You look terrific."

The film received positive reviews from critics. It holds an 88% approval rating on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, with an average score of 7.9/10. The consensus reads: "The divorce subject isn't as shocking, but the film is still a thoughtful, well-acted drama that resists the urge to take sides or give easy answers."[4] Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times gave the film four stars, giving praise to Benton's screenplay: "His characters aren't just talking to each other, they're revealing things about themselves and can sometimes be seen in the act of learning about their own motives. That's what makes Kramer vs. Kramer such a touching film: We get the feeling at times that personalities are changing and decisions are being made even as we watch them."

Release Date: december 19, 1979


Distrib: Columbia Pictures

Boxoffice: $106,260,000 2014: $359,219,000

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Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
Release Year
Catalog Number
VH10355E
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Catalog Number
VH10355E
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105 mins (NTSC)
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Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
Release Year
Catalog Number
10038
Primary Distributor (If not listed, select "OTHER")
Catalog Number
10038
Format
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101 mins (PAL)
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