I love the Academy Awards and last year I realized how few of the “Best Picture” winners I’d actually seen. So I made it a goal to see all 83 winners and blog my thoughts about them along the way.

Why did it win? Should another movie have won instead? Has it become a beloved classic or do many of you not even recognize the title? I invite you, my friends and guests, to comment along with me. Do you agree/disagree? I should be fair and place a SPOLIER ALERT on this blog since I’ll be writing about various parts of the movie. So read at your own risk…

I have often told people that I have movie amnesia… I can see a movie and forget all about it years later. So for that reason, I am re-watching the 27 I’ve seen before. That said, if no one visits or reads my blog and I basically perform the online equivalent of talking to a brick wall, that’s fine; if for nothing else, it’ll be my own reminder. Enjoy!

And the Oscar goes to…

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Kramer vs. Kramer, 1979

Rated PG

This movie, based on the best-selling novel, is the dramatic story of a couple’s separation, divorce, and custody battle, and the ramifications it has on the newly-single father’s career and family obligations. The novel was a best-seller at the time because it dealt with popular issues such as divorce, custody, feminism, and parental roles.

Dustin Hoffman plays the role of the father, Ted Kramer, absolutely brilliantly thus winning him his first coveted Best Actor award. The movie opens with the mother, Joanna, leaving her husband. Joanna’s friend tries to defend her in a later conversation with Ted, saying she had the courage to leave him. He poignantly asks, “How much courage does it take to walk out on your kid?” From that moment on, you feel for his character and want to root him on as he attempts to tackle single-parenting. I got the impression he might not have been the most hands-on and “aware” dad prior to the split when he asks his son, “What grade are you in?” when dropping him off at school. But, by no means does he throw a pity party or give up and call in help. In fact, he does the opposite. He explains things so well to his little 7 (?) year-old and he continues to speak of his ex-wife with respect when explaining things to him throughout the movie. When divorce can cause such animosity, it was refreshing to see that Dustin’s character kept what was most important as his priority: raising his son in a loving and compassionate home. The looks this father-son team give each other can pull at your heart strings and move you to tears. (The 8 year-old boy who played the son had a well-deserved nomination for Best Supporting Actor; he was, and still is, the youngest nominated actor.)

Meryl also won her first Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for this movie. (Her face reminds me a little of “Pam” from the “Meet the Parents” trilogy.) Her character doesn’t come back into the movie until half-way through; after being away for 18 months, she comes back asking for her son. Meryl does a fine acting job portraying such a weak character in my opinion. (By “weak” I mean, “you must have no backbone since you left your young son for over a year and a half!”) I was convinced, however, that she truly cares about her son and feels she is better equipped now to care for him, but I still couldn’t get over the resentment I held from the beginning (and the fact that I was so proud of the father that Ted Kramer becomes).

We get to see Kramer vs. Kramer in the courtroom drama and it is emotional to say the least. At the end, while the tears were flowing, I was satisfied with how it was concluded. Both parents knew what was right for their son.

This movie was up against “Norma Rae”, “Apocalypse Now”, “All That Jazz”, and “Breaking Away”. I have heard of the first three but haven’t seen any of them. It won 5 of its 9 nominated awards that night. It was an inexpensive film to make, but it dominated the box office for that year. Once again, I find myself a little surprised at the PG rating- there was some VERY brief full frontal female nudity. I’m also not the biggest fan of the title… maybe if their last name was different, it would work. But all I think of now is that annoying character from Seinfeld.


Father and son are making their morning French toast for what appears to be the last time. It is done in silence but speaks volumes. They are in sync.


Parenting is the hardest and most rewarding job. It is easy to underestimate child-rearing. Everything we do and say is being watched and evaluated by a younger audience who look up to us like idols. Therefore, it is imperative to think before we speak/act. The “I love you”s are worth their weight in gold.

When life gets tough, the tough get tougher. Ted Kramer is a hard-working businessman who shifts priorities in his life to accommodate his son. It isn’t easy for him (or any single parent). A good parent is one who works to be a better one.


  1. I have never heard of this and I'd like to see it now.

  2. Cool Sis (Alli)- that's kinda the point. I think you should. :) xoxo

  3. Ok so I also loved this movie. I read somewhere (need to find it) that it was a book and in the book Mrs. was much more of a likable character. The book starts with the bad part of the marriage so I guess you feel for her and get why she just had to get out for her sanity. Someone told the director he needed to make her a sympathetic character but I still think she wasn't at all. I didn't think she was at all redeemable for leaving her kid for 18 mo! Oh well, kindof makes me want to read the book but then I might feel different about Mr.'s character which at this point I don't care too;)

    Great review sis! xoxo