I didn’t start out hating Meryl Streep!
I don’t know Meryl Streep other than through her movies. I have never met her and probably never will. I’m sure she has never heard of me and could care less how I feel about her.
I feel I owe her an apology.
You see, Meryl Streep is too damn good an actress.
It all began in 1979 when I was young, watching her in the movie Kramer vs. Kramer. This was an amazing movie with a great cast: Dustin Hoffman, Jane Alexander, Howard Duff and of course Meryl Streep. Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep won Oscars for their roles and the movie won three others including Best Picture.
Herein lies the problem; Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman were just so good at their jobs that I ended up associating their characters in this movie with them. I could never see Hoffman and Streep in another movie for the rest of my life without thinking Kramer and Kramer.
Being a young guy, I totally bonded with Dustin Hoffman’s role in this movie as he struggled to take care of his son after his wife abandoned him. I winced as he lost his job and had to find another lesser job fast as his wife had come back by now and was suing to get custody back.
Now that I am older and hopefully wiser, I realize that forces that work between a man and a woman in marriage are very complex and when you throw a child into the mix it complicates the situation even more. Now, I think I could watch a story like Kramer vs. Kramer and hopefully see both sides of the situation. In fact, I am an author that writes about just these types of complex situations.
At twenty six, like many people my age, I saw the world as black and white and I saw red as the court awarded custody to the Meryl Streep mother. I was so righteously enraged that I watched the rest of the movie through a crimson haze.
I was so mad at the Meryl Streep character in that movie that for many years I refused to watch any movie with Meryl Streep in it as no matter what part she was playing, it reminded me of her character in Kramer vs. Kramer. My loss, as Meryl Streep is a magnificent actress.
Fast forward thirty years and I’m discussing that horrible movie with my daughter and she decides she wants to watch it. As a good father, I agree to watch it with her.
An amazing thing happens!
Watching the movie through older and wiser eyes I’m not so enraged at the court decision in the movie and I actually am able to absorb the final scenes. To my horror, I realize that at the end of the movie, the Meryl Streep character sees how much the Dustin Hoffman character loves the little boy and changes her mind and lets him keep the child.
For all the horrible thoughts I have had towards Meryl Streep over the years I sincerely apologize.
It’s a happy ending though, as I got to catch up on thirty years of great Meryl Streep cinema!