Robin Williams is one of the greatest comedians, actors and personalities of all time. Williams is one of those rare artists who hasn’t done that not was unforgettable; Even in his worst films, it’s unlikely you’ll forget what Williams contributed to it. Of course, Williams’s unprecedented standup career made him a comedy titan. It would be tedious to enumerate Williams’ lineup of classic comedies as he managed to attract new audiences with each generation of film fans.
It’s a popular trend these days for actors who are comedic by nature to “deglamourize” themselves to give more dramatic performances, but Williams has never been afraid to tackle more serious subjects. Between Good Will Hunting, Awakenings, Dead Poets Society, Good Morning, Vietnam, Insomnia, The Fisher King, And dead again‘Williams’ dramatic performances were as remarkable as his comedic career. What is remarkable is that in all of these films, Williams never loses his unique energy. He never felt like withdrawing from who he is; He plays larger-than-life characters who take different forms depending on the tone of the film.
Robin Williams as Dramatic Actor
Because of this, Williams starred in the 1982 classic as Breakthrough The world according to Garp is such a fascinating chapter in his career. It was Williams’ third film ever, following an appearance in the sketch comedy anthology Can I do it… until I need glasses? and the title role in Robert Altman‘S pop eye (one of the rare mistakes of one of the greatest filmmakers in the business). The world according to Garp is a charming, old-fashioned coming-of-age tale about a writer who chronicles his adventures and uses his experiences to create his stories. However, it’s not TS Garp (Williams) himself who is larger than life; It’s the world and the characters that surround him.
Williams was asked to do something he had never done before and has rarely done since. He is special not the scene stealer as he was given the more interesting roles Glenn Close And John Lithgow (both received Oscar nominations). A charming young man with big dreams, Garp fits the young hero archetype perfectly. He takes the people who influenced him and turns them into characters. While his readers might have thought this was due to his amazing imagination, Garp’s coming-of-age saga is quite relatable.
However, Williams does not act as a source for Garp’s stories. It’s odd to see Williams, best known for his contagious energy, as an observer rather than an instigator. However, The world according to Garp serves as an example of Williams’ unassuming ability to latch on to something for audiences to invest in. Even at his wildest, Williams was always able to infuse his characters with a distinctly human feel. The spirit of Aladdin works on an empathetic dream in which Peter Pan has to accept his childhood Hookand even Mrs Doubtfire has a warmth and sensitivity to her. In The world according to GarpWilliams exemplifies the likable qualities he’s always had and shows that he doesn’t need to crank things up to high for things to work.
The Life of Garp
It’s Williams’ attention to detail (and the director’s old-fashioned structure). George Roy Hill) that make Garp’s childhood so interesting. The film follows Garp as he overcomes all the challenges of growing up; He explores his sexuality, competes on his school’s wrestling team and eventually discovers his passion for storytelling. Williams is remarkably tender throughout these scenes. Aside from an extended comedic episode where Garp runs up and down the stairs to impress his mistress Helen Holm (Mary Beth Hunt), it’s an understatement. Garp isn’t looking for stories; They just tend to surround him.
Garp’s worldview is dominated by the unique perspective of his mother, Jenny Fields (Close). Jenny is a passionate feminist activist and develops studies on the role of women’s sexuality and body autonomy. Garp’s upbringing certainly makes him less toxic than most boys his age, although he is somewhat embarrassed by his mother’s interests. Garp is humiliated when Jenny hires him a prostitute so he can “let loose” his sexual urges. He’s even more nervous when she uses it for a clinical trial. It’s unintentionally weird to see Williams having to reckon with someone weirder, braver, and more inquisitive than he is.
Williams is incredibly careful in his scenes with Close. While holding on to Garp’s childhood resentments of his mother’s strictness, he reveals that beneath his teenage fears lies genuine love. Garp’s desire to write comes from his mother, although she dismisses his interest in fiction as superfluous. As his writing career takes off and he marries Helen, Garp takes the time to visit his mother regularly. Though he just sighs and shakes his head that his mother still manages to be so productive, Williams shows he’s privileged to share the screen with Close’s character. One can sense Garp’s affection for Jenny through Williams’ respect for Close; he doesn’t try to outshine them.
In a later scene, he gets angry when he learns that his wife is having an affair. The scene “man freaks out because his wife is cheating on him” could have been like this light has been abused (and so often), but Williams shows that behind Garp’s anger is genuine heartbreak, not ego. He wonders what He does injustice and doesn’t direct his anger solely at Helen. However, his planned confrontation leads to an unintended tragedy. When Garp accidentally collides with his wife’s lover’s car, his son Walt is killed. Given what we’ve learned about how seriously Garp takes his relationships, it’s absolutely devastating to see Williams transform instantly from a rejected husband to a grieving father.
The world according to Garp is definitely a product of the era in which it was released, and its serious (but sadly dated) portrayal of transgender character Roberta Muldoon (Lithgow) plays differently in a modern context. Still, Williams does an excellent job of showing Garp’s burgeoning interest in the feminist movement without stigmatizing it. Towards the end there is another scene that could well have been very problematic. Garp tries to sneak into his murdered mother’s all-female funeral. Garp’s initial frustration at not being let in is not out of anger at the feminists, but because he simply wants to mourn the woman who raised him. Williams manages to pull off this complex sequence without turning it into an indictment or a caricature.
The world according to Garp wasn’t the standout role of Williams his fans might have expected, but it is one of his most important roles. Williams was able to bring authenticity to a story that only works with sincerity. Of all his versatile roles, playing a regular guy is one of the most outstanding.