The World According to Garp (1982) - Plot Summary Poster


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  • A struggling young writer finds his life and work dominated by his unfaithful wife and his radical feminist mother, whose best-selling manifesto turns her into a cultural icon.

  • 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.

  • T.S. Garp has led an unusual life. Born in 1944 and named after his father, he is the bastard son of opinionated feminist nurse Jenny Fields who wanted a child but not a husband. She got herself pregnant by a hospitalized soldier on his deathbed, he known only to her as Technical Sergeant Garp. As a young adult, Garp, shaped by his upbringing especially his mother's influence, is an aspiring writer and freestyle wrestler. He shows great aptitude in both. His writing inspires his mother to try her hand at it as well, her subject being her greatest curiosity in life which is human sexuality, most specifically male lust and its effect on women. Into Garp's life comes a myriad of Jenny's friends, acquaintances, groupies and advisers, which includes a transsexual ex-football player named Roberta Muldoon, a reformed prostitute, and a group of women who practice self-mutilation all in the name of making a statement. Also into his life comes Helen Holm, the daughter of his wrestling coach. Garp and Helen have a stormy but passionate relationship, the passion based in part on their joint love of literature. Through all these unusual experiences, Garp just wants to find his place in the world which has a different sensibility than him.



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