21 March 2015

The World According to Garp

The World According to Garp 1982
  • Director: George Roy Hill
  • Based on novel by John Irving
  • Cast: Robin Williams, Glenn Close, Mary Beth Hurt, John Lithgow, Swoosie Kurtz, Peter Michael Goetz, Amanda Plummer
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor in:
    • Robin Williams  The Butler, Insomnia, Good Will Hunting, Hamlet, Homicide Life on the Streets, Hook, Fisher King, Dead Again, Awakenings, The Dead Poets’ Society, Good Morning Vietnam
    • Glenn Close – Sarah Plain and Tall, Paradise Road, Mars Attack!,  101 Dalmatians, Mary Reilly, The House of the Spirits, Hook, Meeting Venus, Hamlet, Reversals of Fortune, Dangerous Liaisons, Jagged Edge
    • Mary Beth Hurt – The Age of Innocence
    • John Lithgow – Dreamgirls, Third Rock from the Sun, The Pelican Brief, Footloose, Terms of Endearment
    • Swoosie Kurtz – Citizen Ruth, Reality Bites, Stanley and Iris, Dangerous Liaisons, Wildcats
    • Amanda Plummer – The Hunger Games Catching Fire, My Life without Me, Pulp Fiction, Fisher King, Joe and the Volcano, Daniel
  • Why?  Curious, having read several of Irving’s books recently
  • Seen:  March 15, 2015 with YW and Hal in our read-book-see-film group 

The novel is problematic and as a whole dissatisfying but it’s a serious novel that deserves better film interpretation than this.  I find little in the film that does the book justice.  Possibly the moment when John Lithgow as the transsexual Roberta mourns her inability to protect Jenny. Otherwise the story is heavy-handed, the changes and omissions demeaning to the subject, the acting generally stilted and the tone as a whole superficialising to what was good in the novel: gender conflict, familial conflict, fear of the death of loved ones.
I remember not liking the film the first time.  I still don’t.

2 * of 5


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