Not a Perfect Parent – Kramer vs. Kramer

Film:  Kramer vs. Kramer
Year:  1979
Screenplay: Robert Benton (novel by Avery Corman)
Role:  Ted Kramer
Actor:  Dustin Hoffman
Length: approx. 2 minute minimum


When Joanna, my wife — my ex-wife — when she was talking before about how unhappy she was during our marriage…Well, I guess most of what she said was probably true. There were a lot of things I didn’t understand — a lot of things I would do different if I could. Just like I guess there are a lot of things Joanna wishes she could change…But we can’t. Some things, once they are done, can’t be undone. My wife, — ex-wife– says that she loves Billy. And I believe she does. But I don’t think that’s the issue here. If I understand it correctly, what means the most here is what’s best for our son, what’s best for Billy…My wife used to always say to me, why can’t a woman have the same ambitions as a man, I think you’re right and maybe I learned that much. But by the same token what law is it that says a woman is a better parent simply by virtue of her sex? You know a lot of times, think about it, what is it that makes somebody a good parent? You know, it has to do with constancy, it has to w-with patience, It has to do with listening to them. It has to do with pretending to listen to them when you can’t even listen any more. And it has to do with love, like she was saying. And I don’t know where it is written that a woman has a corner on that market. That a man has any less of those emotions than a woman does? Billy has a home with me, I’ve made it the best I could. It’s not perfect. I’m not a perfect parent. Sometimes I don’t have enough patience. I forget he’s a little kid…But I’m there. I get up in the morning. And we eat breakfast, and he talks to me. And we go to school, and at night we eat dinner together, and we talk then. And I read to him. And we built a life together, and we love each other. If you destroy that it may irreparable. Joanna, don’t do that, please. Don’t do it twice to me.