“I don’t know what’s harder to believe, that this 5 time Academy Award winning film (including picture, director, and the first wins for both Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep) did not make AFI’s Top 100 list, or that this family drama beat out highly acclaimed classic, Apocalypse Now.
Actually, I can kinda see how the later would happen. I personally much prefer this film, and something relatable stands a better chance over such a heavy handed film, even if the heavier one has gained more notoriety over time. See also Rocky being out Network and Taxi Driver or Shakespeare in Love beating out Saving Private Ryan.
In Kramer Vs Kramer, mother Joanna (Streep) leaves her husband Ted (Hoffman) and young son Billy (record holding youngest ever Academy Award nominee Justin Henry). Where Ted was once the self absorbed but hard working provider, leaving all the domestic duties to his wife, he has to learn how to put his son first and play both mother and father. The story is simple, but compelling.
It is kind of interesting seeing it through the lens of today, as gender roles aren’t quite as strictly divided as they were then. Joanna’s crisis of identity and need for self discovery also doesn’t often present that way anymore as most of this generation has waited to figure that out before the whole family thing. Still, some things don’t change, and the bond that forms between father and son still resonates today.
For me, though, the weird thing is seeing Streep play this type of character. I’m so used to her today as the wise matriarch type, or a stern and strong authority figure, that young and lost and kinda selfish feels so bizarre. I shouldn’t be surprised at the range that this goddess of a woman has, but I’m delighted that I still can be.”