Awards and Honors:
Kramer vs. Kramer
was nominated for nine Academy Awards and won five. It received Best Picture (Stanley Jaffe), Best Director (Robert Benton), Best Actor (Dustin Hoffman), Best Supporting Actress (Meryl Streep) and Best Screenplay Adapted from another Medium (Robert Benton). Its remaining four nominations were for Best Film Editing (Gerald Greenberg), Best Cinematography (Nestor Almendros), Best Supporting Actress (Jane Alexander) and Best Supporting Actor (Justin Henry).
It also won the César (French Academy Award) for Best Foreign Film (Robert Benton) and The Golden Globes, The New York Film Critics Circle and The Los Angeles Film Critics Association's awards for Best Motion Picture (Drama), Best Film and Best Picture, respectively. Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep won Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress from The Golden Globes, The Kansas City Film Critics Circle, The New York Film Critics Circle and The Los Angeles Film Critics Association.
The Critics' Corner on KRAMER VS KRAMER
"Columbia Pictures has the perfect Christmas offering. Kramer vs. Kramer
is a perceptive, touching, intelligent film about one of the raw sores of contemporary America, the dissolution of the family unit. It's a tribute to writer-director Robert Benton, along with leads Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep and Justin Henry, that Kramer
is about people, not abstract stereotypes." - Variety
, November, 1979.
"Kramer vs. Kramer
is a rare movie that finds its tone, its focus and its poetry in its very first image. The image: a close-up of an anguished woman, her face surrounded by darkness. The shot is so intimate that the audience at first yearns for some relief. But the relief never really comes. Kramer vs. Kramer
is composed almost entirely of actors' faces, of intense passions and of winter light." - Frank Rich, Time Magazine
, December, 1979.
"This is an important movie for Robert Benton, who co-wrote Bonnie and Clyde
 and also wrote and directed Bad Company
 and The Late Show
. He spends a great deal of attention on the nuances of dialog: His characters aren't just talking to each other, they're revealing things about themselves and can sometimes be seen in the act of learning about their own motives. That's what makes Kramer vs. Kramer
such a touching film: We get the feeling at times that personalities are changing and decisions are being made even as we watch them" - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times
, December, 1979
"Kramer vs. Kramer
is a Manhattan movie, yet it seems to speak for an entire generation of middle-class Americans who came to maturity in the late 60's and early 70's, sophisticated in superficial ways but still expecting the fulfillment of promises made in the more pious Eisenhower era...Kramer vs. Kramer
is one of those rare American movies that never have to talk importantly and self-consciously to let you know that it has to do with many more things than are explicitly stated. It's about fathers and sons, husbands and wives, and most particularly, perhaps, about the failed expectations of a certain breed of woman in this day and age...Though much of Kramer vs. Kramer
is occupied with the growing relationship between the abandoned father and son, through tantrums and reconciliations and playground accidents, the central figure is that of the movingly, almost dangerously muddled mother, played by Miss Streep in what is one of the major performances of the year." - Vincent Canby, The New York Times
, December, 1979
Not all reviews were glowing. Cineaste Magazine
said the movie, "keeps under tight control the despair and chaos inherent in the mother's abandonment of her husband and child, never probing into the nature of the marriage, and instead emphasizes the growing warmth and love of the father-son relationship. And although its treatment of marital breakdown and sex role reversal has some complexity and sophistication, the film nevertheless ends up affirming traditional family values and commitments."
"...intelligent, beautifully crafted, intensely moving film..." - Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide
Compiled by Greg Ferrara