Kramer vs. Kramer - (1979) Directed by Robert Benton
Starring Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep, Jane Alexander
and Justin Henry
I want to see more Meryl Streep. Ever since I saw Doubt last year, I've been intrigued by her amazing talent as an actor. Sophie's Choice only confirmed my fascination.
Kramer vs. Kramer is a really touching movie. I never thought I would sit and watch a film about a single dad, dealing with a wife who walked out on him and his son. Just recently, on TCM I heard a brief segment where Robert Benton mentioned that someone suggested to him that he cannot make Mrs. Kramer a villain. Benton took the advise and from then on knew how to approach the story. I kept this in mind as I watched the film. Its true, and because Joanna Kramer wasn't a villain, because she was a human being; a person with choices and actions, none of which can be summed up and packaged into one neat explanation or judgement. Because I could see substance in such a character's circumstantial layering, I sat and watched this 1979 drama. I can remember this film being shown on channel 11 as far back as I can remember; when I was old enough to be Billy Kramer's age but dismissed it repeatedly then, as it wasn't an action movie.
Long Day's Journey into Night - (1962) Directed by Sidney Lumet
Starring Katharine Hepburn, Ralph Richardson, Jason Robards,
One thing I'll say about this excellent story is that James Tyrone played brilliantly by Ralph Richardson made me laugh. It wasn't a disrespectful, unintentionally funny response to his character. No. I believe that character is suppose to be funny. A man who takes himself far too seriously, Edmund and Jamie are always laughing at him and even in the first scene Mary states that her husband is always at the end of some joke or another.
This provided for me a genuine lock for the story. It was key to feeling the story become all the more real. It reminds me of fights and/or lectures from my parents; laughter is always a present element to these otherwise serious speeches. More so, laughter is always inspired when a person is trying to explain their true self (the person they imagine they are) against the image of who they are seen as. This story was very much about everyone trying to explain who they are. All except Edmund, who seems to be either too young to know or care, both on romantic, poetic terms.