Sunday, November 13, 2011

Divorce and Custody Movie Review - Kramer v Kramer

Today I review Kramer v Kramer from my collection of divorce, child custody and child support related movies.

Kramer v Kramer [1979] - Based upon the novel by Avery Corman; directed by Robert Benton. Starring Dustin Hoffman who portrays a father left to be the sole caregiver and provider for his young son after the mother, played by Meryl Streep, abandons them to pursue her own interest and find herself. Hoffman must balance a high pressure career with single parenting. Streep later returns after deciding she again wanted to be a parent. A bitter custody battle ensues as Hoffman seeks to protect their child from the disruption that Streep seeks to introduced into the boy's life. Winner of five Academy Awards including Best Picture.

Hoffman does somewhat of a poor job managing the child's issues with the maternal abandonment during periods of frustration but also provides rational insight. The film accurately portrays the tactics used to gain damaging information against the other parent and how the parent is ambushed by that revelation during the custody proceeding. The judicial bias favouring the mother, even one who abandons the child and is mentally unstable is demonstrated convincingly. Streep does a brilliant job in developing the character who has yet to fully gain control over her own life but uses the win in the custody battle as a means to control the father. Ultimately, although she had won custody, Streep tells Hoffman that the child's home is with him and she will not be taking him, thus controlling where the child will reside and having control over the one thing she can.

This is a must see film for anyone, especially a father, who is facing a petition for custody brought on by an abandoning parent. My marriage and subsequent custody battle nearly mirrored this plot line. Therin's mother abandoned him at age three while proclaiming, "There can only be one person who is most important in your life and that has to be yourself." It was months later that she returned with a divorce petition and sought sole legal physical custody of the child she repeatedly said she wished was never born. Although I had been the only stable parent in our son's life and was his sole financial provider Judge Steve David clearly demonstrated the judicial bias favouring mothers and gave Elica exactly what she had asked for. This is an outstanding film and well deserving of the five Academy Awards it received.

If there is a movie that you would like reviewed please send a request to me. The complete list of movies I have reviewed may be viewed here.

If you need assistance with parenting time, custody or support issues please visit my website and contact my scheduler to make an appointment to meet with me.

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More information about child custody rights and procedures may be found on the Indiana Custodial Rights Advocates website.

©2011 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

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