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April 03, 2006

Kramer vs. Kramer - 7

Earlier today one of my co-workers mentioned how controversial this film was when it first came out in 1979. The film confronts the viewer with their own views of gender roles and stereotypes and how different people might respond to these assumptions. In the film, Joanna leaves her son to be raised by his father because of the unhappiness of her marriage and her depression over her ability to raise her son. Her husband Ted, is then left to rethink his job and responsibilities as he becomes the primary care-giver for his son. The film ends in a battle for custody where both parents struggle to find what is right for their son, rather than themselves. The one fault of the film is that it leaves out the early part of the marriage so that it seems impossible for the viewer to understand the complexity of the situation. Most people would see the mother as a villain who is self-centered, while in more recent times the father may be the unreasonable one. The film does well to show that a failure of communication can be disastrous, and can lead to hurts that might never be healed.
Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep were awarded Oscars for their roles in the film, it also received awards for direction and best picture.

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