Top positive review
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A mature and moving look at the effects of divorce
on March 8, 2015
Marriage is certainly an important societal institution, but it doesn't work out for everyone. KRAMER VS. KRAMER is a heartfelt film that explores the effect that divorce has on those involved, and the difficult choices that come along with it. The film starts off by introducing all of the principal characters. The mother, Joanna (Meryl Streep) is putting her child (Justin Henry) to bed, and Ted (Dustin Hoffman) is having a late-night talk with a co-worker. By the time he gets home, Joanna says she's leaving him and the plot is set up. What follows is a long series of scenes which show how Ted has to adjust to being a single parent, and culminates in a courtroom battle as Joanna, after a long period, fights for custody of her son. What I feel like the film does well is not paint everything as black or white. Ted isn't portrayed as a wholly perfect father, yet Joanna isn't portrayed as a villain. I will say, however, that not as much screen time is allotted to Meryl Streep so that her character's motivations come off as a bit selfish at first. Still, the meat of the story is in how her decision to leave affects her husband and child, and there was certainly a lot to process. There were plenty of ups and downs and the film is able to effectively show how the father's relationship with his son matures and develops over time. The performances were also top-notch, even from the child actor portraying the son. This is a very emotional film at times, and every such moment felt real and believable. You actually care what happens to these people. Overall, while certain surface aspects date this film a little bit, the emotional core is very strong and the performances only make things that much better.