The World According to Garp | Chicago Reader

The World According to Garp

Robin Williams seems generally repressed in his first dramatic role, as the sheltering hero of John Irving's best-seller, yet the most charming moments in this 1982 film are pure Williams shtick—when he's making cute to the woman he wants to marry (Mary Beth Hurt) or fooling around with his kids in the front yard. He doesn't really provide the firm, empathetic center the film needs so badly, given the tendency of Irving's plotting and George Roy Hill's direction to fragment into coy abstraction. Like the novel, the film uses its modernist techniques to very traditional ends; it's about the propping up of middle-class institutions in the face of feminism and random violence. Nothing convinces, but the film is fitfully appealing. With Glenn Close and John Lithgow. 136 min.

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