Jeff is left to cope with his son, Billy (Justin Henry), who he's never had time for (he never had time for his wife, either.) It's extremely difficult at first, but they manage to bond together over their mutual loss of their wife/mother. Jeff becomes Billy's mother, father, best friend and protector. But their whole life is thrown off balance when Joanna comes back asking for custody of her child.
Therein starts a court case which delves deep into the emotional traumas that caused the breakup, and a ferocious fight over who has more of a right to Billy. Joanna gives an extremely emotional and heart-wrenching testimony, and so does Jeff. It looks neck in neck. Who will win custody of Billy?
The direction is beautiful. Raw, but still beautiful. Meryl Streep claims he was a very easy going director who very much let the creative juices of the actors flow. She compared it to the directing style of Woody Allan (she was working on Manhattan, 1979, an Kramer Vs Kramer simultaneously) who would stop her mid-take and say "Meryl... There's, there's a comma... in the middle of that sentence." Meryl replied, "Yes?" "Why don't you use it?" Allan said.
Dustin Hoffman is wonderful in this film. He's very sensitive, which is something I don't usually find him. He really is an extremely instinctive actor. However, sometimes this "instinctive-ness" and "improvisation" went a little too far. There are all sorts of stories or Dustin slapping Meryl streep before takes to get her to be cross with him and Dustin smashing glasses in scenes without telling anyone.
Meryl Streep is fantastic as Joanna. Her court scene is one of the most moving scenes I've ever seen. I'm sorry I just can't deal. Also, the way she is with Justin Henry is the sweetest thing ever. Also I need hair like that now. It's amazing. Oh my god. Seriously, It's my goal. But I really think she's now definitely on my favourites list. She's an incredible actress. Yay Meryl!!!
All in all, I loved this film. Can't really think of any negatives. Watch it!