This film chronicles the life of TS Garp, and his mother, Jenny. Whilst Garp sees himself as a serious writer, Jenny writes feminist manifesto at an opportune time, and finds herself as a magnet for all manner of distressed women.
Aside from being a warmly enjoyable movie, and the best screen adaptation of any John Irving novel, The World According to Garp features several young actors who went on to be among the best in the business. Oscar nominee John Lithgow is the sweetest transsexual ex-pro football player you'd ever hope to meet; Oscar nominee Glenn Close is a sensible, utterly sexless nurse and mother; Amanda Plummer is a mute crime victim; Mary Beth Hurt is a schoolgirl turned wife and mother, the love of T.S. Garp's life and the personification of the idea of Home. And Robin Williams, in his first starring role, has never been better cast--in the role of a human being, that is. This most unusual life story--written by Steve Tesich (Breaking Away) and directed by George Roy Hill (Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid)--perfectly captures the tragi-comic, absurdist/humanist worldview of Irving's novel. The opening credits, with a wide-eyed baby floating about the screen to the tune of the Beatles' "When I'm Sixty-Four," sums up the movie's scope and tone. After watching The World According to Garp, you may find yourself marveling anew at the world around you, a strange and wonderful place indeed. --Jim Emerson