“When I’m old and gray, I won’t remember my past. We have to do it now, while we’re still young.”
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
Playing the film’s titular protagonist, Robin Williams is competent and generally sympathetic, but slips into variations on himself far too easily to convince us that his T.S. Garp really exists as a viable character.
Much more believable is Glenn Close in her Oscar-nominated feature debut as Garp’s eccentric, asexual mother: her performance remains the film’s primary redeeming virtue.
Jon Lithgow (also nominated for an Academy Award) is both dignified and amusing in a supporting role as Garp’s transsexual friend, Roberta, but his character — like much of the film — is sadly under-written.
Indeed, it’s disappointing to see so many intriguing storylines — including Mary Beth Hurt’s affair with a graduate student (Mark Soper):
… Close’s relationship with a reformed hooker (Swoozie Kurtz):
and the existence of a group of extremist feminists known as the Ellen James society:
(who cut off their tongues in solidarity with a young rape victim) — treated with so little consideration. By the end of the film, one can only guess at the richer themes and characterizations in Irving’s novel, which fail to make a lasting impression on-screen.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments: