Kramer vs. Kramer

1979

Kramer vs. Kramer

Critics Consensus

The divorce subject isn't as shocking, but the film is still a thoughtful, well-acted drama that resists the urge to take sides or give easy answers.

91%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 45
User image

Kramer vs. Kramer Photos

Movie Info

Joanna Kramer (Meryl Streep) walks out on her advertising-art-director husband Michael (Dustin Hoffman). Though he is obviously insensitive to everyone's feelings but his own, Michael has not lost his wife because of this; she simply wants to go out and "find herself". Also left behind is the Kramers' 6-year-old son Billy (Justin Henry), whom Michael barely knows. At first, both father and son resent each other's company, but before long they have formed a strong bond of love and mutual respect. So devoted a father does Michael become that he begins neglecting his work and loses his job. Suddenly, Joanna reenters his life, announcing that she now has a well-paying job herself, and wants full custody of Billy. During the subsequent court battle, Michael takes a job far beneath his talents to prove that he's a worthy parent. Still, he loses the case, though the film ends on a note of hope. In adapting Avery Corman's novel, writer/director Robert Benton wisely altered the character of Joanna Kramer from a spiteful shrew to a well-meaning but confused woman who merely wants what she thinks is best for herself and her child. Benton also sagaciously removed a secondary romance between Michael Kramer and his platonic lady friend Margaret Phelps (Jane Alexander). By refusing to truckle to the Obvious, Benton transformed Kramer vs. Kramer from a standard marital-breakup tale to a film of rare depth and honesty. An incredible moneymaker, Kramer vs. Kramer also did well for itself at Oscar time, winning awards for Best Picture, Best Actor (Hoffman), Best Supporting Actress (Streep-but who was she supporting?), Best Screenplay and Best Director.

Watch it now

Cast

Dustin Hoffman
as Ted Kramer
Meryl Streep
as Joanna Kramer
Justin Henry
as Billy Kramer
Jane Alexander
as Margaret Phelps
Howard Duff
as John Shaunessy
George Coe
as Jim O'Connor
JoBeth Williams
as Phyllis Bernard
Bill Moor
as Gressen
Howland Chamberlain
as Judge Atkins
Howland Chamberlin
as Judge Atkins
Jack Ramage
as Spencer
Jess Osuna
as Ackerman
Nicholas Hormann
as Interviewer
Ellen Parker
as Teacher
Shelby Brammer
as Ted's Secretary
Carol Nadell
as Mrs. Kline
Judith Calder
as Receptionist
Dan Tyra
as Court Clerk
Petra King
as Petie Phelps
Melissa Morell
as Kim Phelps
Ingeborg Sorenson
as Woman at Christmas Party
Iris Alhanti
as Partygoer
Richard Barris
as Partygoer
Joann Friedman
as Partygoer
Joe Seneca
as Partygoer
Frederic W. Hand
as Street Musician
Scott Kuney
as Street Musician
View All

News & Interviews for Kramer vs. Kramer

Critic Reviews for Kramer vs. Kramer

All Critics (45) | Top Critics (12)

  • A triumph of partisan pathos, a celebration of father-son bonding that astutely succeeds were tearjerkers like "The Champ" so mawkishly failed.

    May 6, 2017 | Full Review…
  • What Benton achieved with his screenplay he intensified with his direction. Each performance is a minor miracle of perfection - not only Hoffman's and Streep's, which dominate the picture, but each of the supporting roles as well.

    Dec 19, 2016 | Full Review…
  • Kramer vs. Kramer is greatly enriched by its exceptional cast.

    Feb 21, 2015 | Full Review…
  • It's an interesting movie to look back on for its attitudes: In the guise of being a consciousness-raiser it plumps for male tenderness and demonizes the mother who can't recognize how far her workaholic ex-hubbie has come.

    Feb 19, 2013 | Full Review…
  • Kramer Vs. Kramer is a perceptive, touching, intelligent film about one of the raw sores of contemporary America, the dissolution of the family unit.

    Feb 6, 2013 | Full Review…

    Dale Pollock

    Variety
    Top Critic
  • Benton's direction must first be praised for his choice of actors and his collaboration with them.

    Feb 6, 2013 | Full Review…

Kramer vs. Kramer Quotes

News & Features