May 13, 2009

Character of the Day: Billy (Kramer vs. Kramer)

Character name: Billy Kramer
Actor/Actress: Justin Henry (Oscar nomination - the youngest person to ever be nominated, at age 8 years, 276 days)
Film: "Kramer vs. Kramer" (1979)
Interests: Wanting mommy, sleeping, promptness, pink fabric softener, using the bathroom, airplanes, climbing the jungle gym, chocolate chip ice cream, riding bicycles
Significance: Justin Henry's performance as adorable Billy is, without question, one of the best performances by a child in film history. Henry captures the essence of childhood without looking transparent like most child actors. His age belies maturity that he surprisingly possesses, supposedly being a child emotionally wounded by his parents' split. The clip below has two scenes that exemplify his astounding realism (and childlike humor): the dinner scene (at the beginning) and the comically awkward scene with Phyllis (JoBeth Williams) in the hall (at the end).

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