Picks and Pans Review: Kramer Vs. Kramer

updated 01/14/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 01/14/1980 AT 01:00 AM EST

There is so seldom even one great performance in a movie that three is too much to expect. For that reason alone, this story of a couple battling for custody of their young son is a remarkable achievement. Dustin Hoffman gives the performance of his career as the ambitious advertising exec who (along with so many men these days) discovers there's more to life than success. Meryl Streep lives up to her publicity, remaining sympathetic while committing the un-American horror of deserting her child. And, amazingly, Justin Henry, at 7, overcomes his cherubic looks and preciousness in his acting debut. The credit must go to scriptwriter-director Robert (The Late Show) Benton. He never permits the camera to linger on scenes that are set up to be heart-tuggers, but crisply moves through a string of opalescent vignettes. The film's only failing is its unlikely resolution (taken from the novel by Avery Corman upon which the movie is based)—not that audiences will notice through their tears. (PG)

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