Based on the John Irving novel, this film chronicles the life of T S Garp, and his mother, Jenny. Whilst Garp sees himself as a "serious" writer, Jenny writes a feminist manifesto at an opportune time, and finds herself as a magnet for all manner of distressed women.Written by
Tony Bowden <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The title of Garp's mother Jenny Field's (Glenn Close) partially autobiographical book was "A Sexual Suspect", its dust-jacket title being "Sexual Suspect: An Autobiography". The titles of the books that T.S. Garp (Robin Williams) wrote in the film were "Procrastination" (his first); "Second Wind of the Cuckold" (his second); and "Ellen" (his third). The name of the novel that T.S. Garp wanted to write with the assistance of Walt and Duncan was "A Child's Christmas with a Whale" whilst the name of the short story that graduate student Michael Milton wrote in Helen's class was "Black Snow". In John Irving's source novel, the titles of T.S. Garp's novels were mostly different to the film's. They were "Procrastination"; "The Pension Grillparzer"; and "The World According to Bensenhaver". See more »
When Garp returns home after his session with the hooker, he reminisces while opening and closing the blinds in his room. The scene of him and Helen picking up the scattered pages of his short story occurs in a different locale (spread all over the lawn) than the original event (on a road and among the landscaping near the house). See more »
The World According to Garp is an unconventional film, to say the least. Not so much in the sense of how it looks, or how it is acted. More than anything the film stands out because it is a human drama that doesn't take a stance or one particular point of view. T. S. Garp is simply a man trying to live his life amongst all manner of eccentric characters and unlikely situations. And like life, things happen. People grow old. There are moments of joy. There are moments of tragedy. And people die.
Robin Williams plays the title character known by most as simply "Garp". His mother, played with dignified enthusiasm by Glenn Close, has brought him up all by herself. She is a nurse and during WWII, she used the sperm of a dying tail gunner who she happened to be caring for in his final moments. To call this woman a feminist would be a magnificent understatement. Her sexuality is never made that clear to the viewer but is is inferred by some around her that she is in fact a lesbian. Her only relationship with a man that we learn of is the encounter that produced her son, and she spends much of the film condemning the lusty ways of men and boys. As the film goes on, she becomes a famous writer and feminist leader. Garp spends much of his life trying to be a successful writer himself and raising a family, but he never seems to escape his mother's shadow.
The plot simply follows the life of Garp and his family members. A great many things happen to these people over the span of many years. Careers are made, children are born, affairs are had, and the joys of life are often shattered by terrible tragedies. Williams is decent enough as Garp. He maybe acts a bit too zany in the light-hearted scenes, but he nails the more dramatic ones pretty well. That's the amazing thing about Robin Williams. The guy is an absolute nut most of the time he's in front of a camera, but when he bears down and plays something serious, it's stunning to see how great his range can be. He is an undervalued actor. Glenn Close steals this film though in terms of acting. She owns every scene she's in much like how her domineering character towers over that of her son's. The supporting cast is more than adequate with John Lithgow getting major props for his daring turn as a transsexual with a heart of gold. The film seems to take its share of jabs at radical feminism as it depicts a sect of women knows as the Ellen Jamsians. These women cut out their own tongues to protest the similar fate of a rape victim. And boy do these ladies HATE men. An act of violence in one of the final scenes shows how fanatical they can be. (as if cutting out their tongues wasn't bad enough!) Each person who views this film will probably see something different in it, and those are my favorite kinds of films. There are moments of definite humor, surprise, hope, and tragedy. You will not be bored. The film is based on a popular novel by John Irving and is worth 9 of 10 stars.
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