The World According To Garp

Empty shortening of Irving's book reaches for profundity, and comes up courageous but brainless. It's actually a bittersweet string of sketches, attempting to explain a man's growth from birth to adulthood and how he deals with the vices of lust and fanaticism that whirl around him. Garp is born to a formidable unmarried mother, Jenny Fields, played by...read more

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Empty shortening of Irving's book reaches for profundity, and comes up courageous but brainless. It's actually a bittersweet string of sketches, attempting to explain a man's growth from birth to adulthood and how he deals with the vices of lust and fanaticism that whirl around him.

Garp is born to a formidable unmarried mother, Jenny Fields, played by Glenn Close. (The various stages of Garp's childhood are played by Thomas Peter Daikos, Brendon Roth, and James McCall before Robin Williams takes over as Garp reaches young adulthood.) The story follows him through childhood

at a boys' prep school, where Jenny is the school nurse, through his high school passions--wrestling, writing, and sex--to marriage with his high school sweetheart, children, marital disaffection, and a career as a writer. Jenny meanwhile has become a famous feminist, espousing an eccentric cause.

The plot details an abundance of comic and tragicomic episodes, outlandish physical, emotional, and sexual adventures. Williams gives another puppy-dog performance--he has yet to land a script that takes advantage of his wildness and anarchy. Although these qualities are undoubtedly couched in the

cuteness of Williams's persona, they come from anywhere but. He's like a wild bird with clipped wings. GARP is stolen by Lithgow, who imparts dignity and depth to his role of a king-sized transsexual, and Close's feminist mom. The movie was not a success--even at 136 minutes, GARP still feels like

its dialogue and its action are going in opposite directions. Audiences were confused; we're not--we can't work up that much of a lather.

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  • Released: 1982
  • Rating: R
  • Review: Empty shortening of Irving's book reaches for profundity, and comes up courageous but brainless. It's actually a bittersweet string of sketches, attempting to explain a man's growth from birth to adulthood and how he deals with the vices of lust and fanati… (more)

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