2019 Blind Spot Series: Kramer vs Kramer


What I knew going in: The plot, but nothing else.

I'm not really sure what pushed me to add Kramer vs Kramer to my Blind Spot list. It might have been a recommendation from a friend, it might have been just wanting to cross more best picture winners off my list, I'm not sure. But what I can be sure about is that I'm happy it got there.

Ted (Dustin Hoffman) and Joanna (Meryl Streep) are getting a divorce. Joanna is fed up and leaves Ted with their seven year old son, Billy (Justin Henry) convinced she's not a good mother and he'll be better off with there. Ted has always been a workaholic and has no idea what to do with his son. 

From reading the trivia on imdb, it seems Meryl Streep did a lot of saving of this script from Joanna's perspective. It's hard to favor one parent over the other. Sure, Joanna leaves, but she has her reasons. Ted's not a great father, but he gets there. Ultimately, I just felt bad for their relationship crumbling, especially in the court room scenes towards the end of the film. 

Hoffman and Streep are both wonderful in their Oscar winning roles, but the star of this film for me was Justin Henry. Amazing child performances are not hard to find and this kid felt so authentic. Every time he cried or got angry over his mom leaving him felt so real. I knew he had been nominated before watching and assumed it was going to be an Abigail Breslin/Little Miss Sunshine situation where any kid would've gotten in for that part but no. He really blew me away. 

My only complaint about this film is that I really just wanted more depth. I wanted more information on Ted and Joanna and I wanted to see more of what happened after their court case. (by the way, both of those lawyers were mega-assholes. Jesus) Though I can see why the film chose not to give us that. 

Recommended: Yes

Grade: B+

Memorable Quote: *whispers* "No" - Ted (Dustin Hoffman)

14 comments:

  1. I saw this this many years ago and all I can remember other than the plot is favoring the father. I really liked it though and I’m glad you did too.

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    1. The father did come out on the better side considering we barely saw the wife lol

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  2. I like this one too. It's been a few years since I've seen it but I remember being especially drawn to the performances. The Oscars made sense.

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    1. That was definitely the film's strongest point.

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  3. I saw this when it first came out and loved the kid and Dustin Hoffman. I remember thinking the one who played the mom was horrible and her constant crying and waaaayyy about finding herself came off like a thud. When she won the Oscar for this I was dumbfounded. I though the one who played his neighbour was much better as an actress. Consequently, I still have to rewatch this film...it has been 40 yrs. I was so pissed that Streep was heralded as amazing..bleccchhh.

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    1. I think Streep is a wonderful actress but she's not mindblowing here. I'm kind of surprised she won, she barely got anything to do.

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  4. I haven't seen this film other than some parts of it. I'll probably watch it one day though there is no way in Hell that is a better movie than Apocalypse Now.

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    1. I've seen parts of Apocalypse Now, that one doesn't seem like it's for me. I forgot to look at what this was up against at the Oscars that year.

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    2. eeep. I actually OWN Apocalypse Now and still haven't seen it at all. I am rather useless!

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  5. Hehe, mega assholes. They are lawyers, of course they are pricks!! :P

    Man I haven't even heard of this one. There are sooooooooooo many movies that I have no clue about. I love Hoffman though so I might give this a watch sometime

    *added to the watchlist =]

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  6. It is a good film that attempts to be even-handed in its treatment of both parents trying to make us see them as flawed humans.

    That's all well and good but I had zero sympathy for Joanna once she did the flit on the kid. She was unhappy, she felt suffocated, she was lost....blah, blah, blah. Fine-go to counseling, enter therapy, let your husband know there is a problem, even tell him your leaving the child in his care while you get help but DON'T ABANDON YOUR CHILD!!!! Since she didn't seek any of those remedies before moving directly to the last she had impossible gall to then come back and expect to take back the boy. What was going to happen the next time she felt overwhelmed? Was she just going to pin a note on Billy's shirt saying "My Chakras are out of whack-he's yours again." and leave him in the hallway in front of his door! GRRRRR! The only positive thing I can say for her is she did the right thing at the end.

    Okay rant over. Taking all that into account the acting is top flight by the entire cast. Hoffman deserved to win. Out of the two women in the film I would have handed the award to Jane Alexander over Meryl. Margaret didn't have any big emotional scenes but she added enormously to the texture of the film. My ultimate winner in Supporting Actress for this year however would have been Barbara Harris for another film Streep made the same year-The Seduction of Joe Tynan-a terrific film if you can find it.

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    1. I'll have to look for it! You're right about Joanna, maybe she didn't think counseling or anything like that was an option but I felt so awful for Billy when he was just crying for her.

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