The film Kramer V Kramer which I saw for the first time in 1980 made a deep impression on me. Made in 1979 the story of the film centres on a family with one child. The husband, Ted, is a very successful designer in a company where he is about to be made a partner. The price he has to pay for his success is that he must devote all his time, energy and resourcefulness to his work. Joanna, his wife and Billy, his son seldom see him. Even when he is at home Ted is preoccupied with his work. When Joanna complains, Ted offers her any money she wants to spend on herself and on their son.
One day Joanna can take it no longer and decides to leave Ted. She leaves their son with Ted until she can find a job and a place to stay. Ted cannot believe that Joanna really wants to go. Only after she has gone does the reality of what has happened really strike him. He tries to take care of Billy and at the same time devote as much time as he can to his work. Soon it becomes clear that both his work and Billy are being neglected. Billy, who is missing his mother, becomes troublesome and the company Ted works for start to give him a hard time as they notice that his work is deteriorating.
Ted is faced with a crisis. He must choose between his relationship with his son or his success in his job and the affluence it brings him. Ted chooses to make Billy his main concern and a charming relationship develops between father and son. Ted has to pay a great price for this relationship. He loses his job and then he has to carry a huge financial and emotional burden when Joanna seeks custody of their child in the courts.
We see a strange twist of fate when Ted, in the process of losing his claim to his child, re-establishes his relationship with Joanna. At the end of the film, we are left with the feeling that Ted’s crisis has been an invitation to make his relationship with Joanna and Billy a priority and we hope he can continue on down the road he has chosen.