Movie Review – Kramer Vs. Kramer

Posted: June 9, 2013 in Movie Reviews
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Lesson learnt from the movie. One should never break up. I should never break up. What better thing to learn on my birthday and that too for my first review. All these days I didn’t consider Dustin Hoffman to be in the league of Al Pacino and De Niro and I thought I was right but I was terribly wrong Dustin Hoffman is someone who’s way better than them. This movie showcases why he is a genius. Graduate being the other obvious one.Image

The film starts with a caring mother (Meryl Streep) in some sort of grief tenderly kissing her son. The melancholy strain is set up with soft background music and a slow pace. Then a workaholic Hoffman comes home hurriedly and picks up the call without even realizing the Streep is leaving home. He had to be assured twice and only then he comes to the reality. She leaves without much great dramatization.

Things happen too fast for us. That’s how even Hoffman feels.We see the movie from his point of view. We don’t know the reason behind their break up or what Hoffman will do after that incident. Even Hoffman doesn’t have a clue what he’ll do.

Only when he is woken up by his son the next day morning he begins to deal with the situation. It won’t take much of a guess to know what’sgonna happen. But the next scene where they both pee (one by one of course) were hilarious enough to bring a chuckle from me. The shot of the pathway between Hoffman’s bedroom and bathroom comes twice again and both these scenes along with this one are equally important and hilarious.

After a disastrous attempt at French toast an annoyed Hoffman drops his son in school and draws first blood. Gets to know how tough parenthood can be. Shows his brilliance again in the next scene where he tells his manager that he is not a loser all the while trying to get rid of him to pick up his son.

Things don’t go smoothly but he befriends his neighbor who again is a single parent even though she had asked Streep to break up with his husband. She gets used to his ways more so because of his son and she sees that he loves his son as much as any father does.

His son irritates his dad as much as he could by spoiling his design papers and getting the ice cream from freezer. Hoffman ends up beating him only to feel sorry and hugs him in a similar way his mom did in the first scene. Though the kid (Justin Henry) has a discreet charm to himself this prick doesn’t trouble his dad as much as we expect. I loved the kid in Jerry Maguire. No kid has been as charming as he was.

The second shot of the bedroom-washroom pathway comes then. Now it has become a habit. The kid wakes up first and wakes his dad up. They both pee like before (without closing the door I guess). The kid does most of the work; they set out to eat doughnuts and scene ends without a single dialogue being uttered. The editing happens a bit fast hear given that it’s a studio film. Would have been great if the scene had been extended to a few more minutes.

The same kid would’ve never done this work if he had been with a single mother. Though being a single parent is tough one can’t help but get close to the kid.

Things shouldn’t go on smoothly like this after all it’s a break up story but the intervention of Streep again into their story doesn’t seem to be interjected unnecessarily and the scene were both of them meeting in coffee shop is another brilliant scene from the director. Hoffman gets angry and gets up to go away with camera still facing the Streep but right when we expect the cut Hoffman slashes the glass on to the wall which comes as a surprise letting us know his wrath.

Two other touching scenes also happen on the way. Number one, when the child gets admitted to hospital Hoffman says, “it’s my son” and holds his sons head when doctor does the sutures. One awesome scene. Another one, just before the climax when Hoffman says he’d be better off with his mom and the kid. That’s the best scene done by the kid.

Then comes the third shot of bedroom-washroom pathway. The most hilarious scene in the film. After Hoffman has sex with her assistant she walks out to pee only to be found out by his kid. After a few seconds of conversation we hear her say, “I Just met your son.” I was literally rolling on the floor laughing. The kid asks after sometime to his dad whether he’d marry again for which he says, “no”. He questions about their neighbor whom Hoffman calls as ‘just friends’ and then there is a moment of silence. The kid doesn’t talk about the one whom Hoffman had sex with. That subtleness was a brilliant from the director.

The courtroom drama unfolds which proves us again and again about the acting powers of both the lead actors. We all want Hoffman to have his child because we haven’t seen what Streep has undergone through. We don’t fully know what her story is. Why exactly she felt bad and took such a big decision to leave.

But the climax gives the clue why the kid should be with his dad. In the final scene before the lift closes Streep before going to meet her kid asks, “How do I look?” and that says it all.


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