Reel Matt

This blog started as my movie marathon — watching a movie a day for a whole year — and has continued as a place for me to write reviews about movies, TV, and various other items.



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Kramer vs. Kramer

Film #29


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.

Year 1, Day 28

BEFORE: Not much to say about Kramer vs. Kramer. Dustin Hoffman does carry over from yesterday’s Midnight Cowboy and this is also the first marathon film with Meryl Streep.

AFTER: One of the things I love most about films is their ability to tell stories and show experiences that are new to me. Before watching Kramer vs. Kramer, I could not begin to imagine what it must be like for a child going through their parent’s divorce, or even the flip side; what it must be like for the spouses themselves. Now, I have a better understanding of what it must be like.

Justin Henry, who plays the Kramer’s child Billy, is far and away the star of this film. He really gives a face to the pain and agony most children must feel when their parents go through divorce. So many emotions run through that character it would be hard even for most adult actors, but Henry plays the part so effortlessly. Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman play Billy’s mom and dad and their performances shouldn’t be overlooked, especially Hoffman whose character goes through just as many feelings as his son, but Henry really shines above everyone else.

The success of this film comes in it’s story. It tells the tale of divorce mainly from the child’s and the father’s perspective, but from the mother’s perspective as well. But one could argue that the point of the film is the court case over the custody of the child. It is the title of the film after all; the case of Kramer v. Kramer. However, the trial isn’t introduced until the last third of the film and that goes to show that the real focus of the film is the environment these characters are thrust into.

RATING: 5 out of 5