Entertainment Weekly - 03/12/1999
"...The quirky film of John Irving's quirkier novel is grounded by [Williams]....He captures Irving's tone of balmy unreality..." -- Rating: A
Variety - 07/07/1982
"...THE WORLD ACCORDING TO GARP has taste, intelligence, craft and numerous other virtues....[The] technical aspects are all excellent..."
George Roy Hill's intermittently faithful adaptation of John Irving's best-selling novel lightens the tone of the book's black comedy while retaining at least part of its effect. It stars Robin Williams as T.S. Garp--the fatherless son of well-known eccentric feminist activist Jenny Fields (Glenn Close) who spends much of his life trying to escape the influence of his unusual upbringing and the ever-expanding shadow of his mother's fame. Intent on becoming a writer, living a normal life, and raising a family, Garp marries college sweetheart Helen Holm (Mary Beth Hurt) and starts a family, but he is plagued by the feeling he must wage war against all that is violent in the world that can possibly bring harm to them. When he finally publishes his first book, his mother simultaneously publishes a feminist manifesto that makes her a lightning rod for all manner of victimized women. Among her followers is the transsexual ex-football player Roberta Muldoon (John Lithgow), a model of sanity, who becomes a friend of Garp's and leads him toward a reconciliation with his mother and her cause. The briskly paced film captures much of the spirit of Irving's quirky, neopicaresque novel and is well served by its stellar cast, with exceptional work by Close and Lithgow.
Conceived in a hospital room by the independent, strong-willed Jenny Fields (who makes sure to choose a father who can never interfere with her decisions), T.S. Garp grows up in the placid academic atmosphere of the exclusive New England boy's school where Jenny works. As Garp becomes a man, the film shifts between the events that shape his world and those that shape his mother's. While Garp follows a "normal" path--marrying, becoming a father, and establishing himself as an author and teacher--Jenny continues to make extraordinary decisions and allies herself with a very strange group of characters. And through it all, Jenny remains a powerful, inescapable influence on her son.
Based On A Novel |
Character Study |
Period Piece |
Social Issues |