“Kramer vs. Kramer” wouldn’t be half as good as it is — half as intriguing and absorbing — if the movie had taken sides. The movie’s about a situation rich in opportunities for choosing up sides: a divorce and a fight for the custody of a child But what matters in a story like this (in the movies and in real life, too) isn’t who’s right or wrong, but if the people involved are able to behave according to their own better nature. Isn’t it so often the case that we’re selfish and meanspirited in just those tricky human situations that require our limited stores of saintliness?
“Kramer vs. Kramer” is about just such a situation. It begins with a marriage filled with a lot of unhappiness, ego and selfishness, and ends with two single people who have both learned important things about the ways they want to behave. There is a child caught in the middle — their first-grader, Billy — but this isn’t a movie about the plight of the kid but about the plight of the parents.
– Roger Ebert i Chicago Sun-Times.