Sunday, August 11, 2013

Kramer vs. Kramer

A bored and depressed housewife (Meryl Streep) leaves her struggling yuppie ad executive husband (Dustin Hoffman) to tend to their young son (Justin Henry), only to return a year and a half later seeking custody in a vicious courtroom battle. Robert Benton's Kramer vs. Kramer, a Best Picture winning adaptation of Avery Corman's novel, is a rich, gorgeously photographed film whose subject matter is occasionally contrived and which almost totally unravels in the phony courtroom sequences featuring absurd attorneys and scores of false sentiment. Hoffman and Streep aren't nearly as great as their Oscar trophies they received for this movie would indicate, but I did like work of Jane Alexander, excellent in playing their mutual friend. In the end I did enjoy several of the sequences and, again, the photography and direction are amazing but I'm not really sure why this is considered such a landmark film and for a better study of its subject I would recommend watching Noah Baumbach's The Squid and the Whale.