FILM SPOILER ALERT, BUT THEN AGAIN, IT’S BEEN OUT FOR 31 YEARS

8 Feb

Ever feel embarrassed you haven’t seen a classic movie? Well, I decided to bump Kramer vs. Kramer up on my Netflix despite my embarrassment of never viewing the staple in cinema.

Let me say, if you haven’t seen this flick, go out and rent it immediately. Who cares if your friends are like, “Really, it took you [insert ridiculous number] years to see this movie?”

Who cares. Rent it. Now.

There have only been a few pieces of entertainment that have brought me to tears—Field of Dreams (a film), Where the Red Fern Grows (a book), The New York Mets (every year), and now Kramer vs. Kramer.

On the surface, how could you go wrong? Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman are both fantastic actors. And you can’t forget that cute little bowl cut blond kid. He was excellent too. Oh, did I mention the flick took home five Oscars? Kramer vs. Kramer won best picture, actor, supporting actress (two nominees from the film in this category!), director, and screenplay.

In case you haven’t seen it (or dare: never heard of it), the movie is about Ted Kramer (Hoffman), a young workaholic ad man, who is forced to solely parent his son when Joanna Kramer (Streep), his unfulfilled wife, abruptly decides to leave him. Right before the viewers eyes, we see an impatient and classifiable “bad father” (who can’t even make French toast!) transform into a nurturing parent. Great, right? However, right when everything is going right (for the most part), Joanna pops back into the picture to claim her son’s custody.

As an aspiring screenwriter myself, one of the main rules of the art is taking your viewer on an emotional roller coaster by putting your lead character through holy hell. And that’s just what happens. Ted Kramer simply cannot catch a break!

In the end, while Ted loses the custody trial (one of the many tear-filled scenes for me), upon bringing her son home, Joanna decides that her cute little guy is already “home,” relinquishing her custody back to Ted.

Could there really be a better ending? I don’t think so.

Next up on my “I’m so embarrassed I’ve never seen this movie” list is In the Heat of the Night, staring Sidney Poitier. I doubt I will be brought to tears, but I’m confident it will be a memorable experience that I wish I had already experienced years ago.

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