The World According to Garp (1982) is a movie that’s based on the novel by John Irving. I’ve heard some really positive things about this movie, so I have been wanting to watch it for a while. I didn’t really know what to expect though, especially when I watched the opening credits. You are basically greeted with a floating naked baby and the “When I’m 64” song by The Beatles playing in the background, which essentially tells you that you are in for one weird movie.
I’ve no problem against quirky movies, unless they become overly pretentious and annoying. Thankfully, this movie avoided these traps. While it can be incredibly bizarre at times, I must also add that it can have some very dark moments (not melodramatic at all, btw), especially when it is dealing with issues such as the loss of a child and adultery. I guess this sort of balanced out the quirkiness of the movie, which got a bit much at times. I feel that reading it as a book wouldn’t have been so weird (in fact, I think I would have enjoyed it as a book), but when you see things such as a plane crashing through the house, the extremely obvious foreshadowing of the death of one character (talking about his fear of death, claiming that he wants to die in a role play), women who cut their tongues off in protest etc….it just gets a little bit obvious and forced at times. I’ve read that some things also aren’t as well explained as they were in the book, such as why that Pooh girl hates Garp so much to the point of attempting to kill him. Anyway, I’m not the greatest literature student, so I’m not going to over analyse what each of the symbolisms/motifs blablabla meant, but I just want to say that I actually enjoyed the movie and I wouldn’t even mind watching it again. I find some of the topics that it addresses, such as how feminism was perceived back then, pretty interesting and well thought out.
As usual, Glenn Close (in her film debut and her first Oscar nominated role) was really wonderful as Jenny Fields, the feminist with an extremely unusual way of thinking, especially when it comes to sexuality. I’d say that it is a very difficult role to play, but Glenn really plays it with such naturalism and ease that you can’t help but love the character despite how strange she is at times. She successfully strikes a balance between the strong feminist and the motherly figure. I really felt that she was the heart and soul of the movie, and it’s surprising to see her as such a warm presence after watching Fatal Attraction and Dangerous Liaisons. I also liked Mary Beth Hurt’s performance as Helen Holmes a lot. I really sympathized with her character despite her flaws, such as when she had an affair with one of her students. I found the scene where she told Garp said that her heart was as broken as his very effective and heartbreaking.
I’m a little less enthusiastic about the male actors though. I felt that Robin Williams was a bit miscast in the beginning, and I simply did not believe that he was a student as he looked way too old. I also felt that he and Glenn Close weren’t that convincing as mother and son. Their age difference is only 4 years, and it was very obvious. Having said all that, his acting was very good and I actually found him a lot less annoying than I expected him to be (not a fan of his funny man thing). I thought that John Lithgow was great as the transsexual Roberta. He was funny without being over the top, but he also had a nice presence as a friend to the family who supports them in times of need.
So all in all, I think that this is a pretty good film that I honestly wouldn’t mind rewatching. It’s strange at times, but also has some really heartbreaking scenes. Glenn Close was honestly great, and I’m not saying this because she’s my favorite actress lol.
My review is a little bit rushed because I’m going to head back to studying after typing this. Just needed to take a break from that microeconomics monstrosity.
P.s. I can’t stop watching the Interstellar teaser. It’s so strangely….addictive. It doesn’t reveal much, which is why I found the speech by Matthew McConaughey kinda pretentious out of context, but the music was so GREAT that it just everything seems so deep. That being said, I haven’t watched the movie obviously so maybe it is a very deep one. And it’s by Christopher Nolan, so it can’t be that bad. Too early to judge, but I can’t wait! It has Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain, ELLEN BURSTYN and John Lithgow in the cast, so I’m very excited. One year!!!