Anyway, amidst all of this, during the drive home, StinkyLulu also has a distinct memory of defending the curiously powerful performance by...
...Glenn Close in The World According to Garp (1982).
approximately 46 minutes and 57 seconds on-screen
roughly 35% of film's total screen time
The accomplishment of Close's performance derives from this presence. Close's Jenny exudes a kind of constancy, a certitude, a confidence, a clarity, an undeniable gravitational pull that rearranges her own (and Garp's) universe. Close's performance makes it clear that Jenny's her son's rock, whether he likes it or not. This is perhaps most evident in the way Close allows Nurse Jenny to age without seeming to change in the slightest. Indeed, as the film tramps along the typical Irving expanse of time, space and idiosyncracy, Close's Jenny seems to change not at all (even when she becomes a radical feminist publishing sensation -- !) and, yet, it's her presence as a stubborn force for healing that continues to guide her son and to reconfigure the world in which he lives. (Indeed, Close's star power -- in her film debut -- nearly dwarfs the film; it's like she's the really really really big momma tossing those big naked babies in the credits.) But it's Close's performance that makes room for the vast queer family at the heart of the film, and, in the end, Close's Jenny makes total sense as the role model for the kind of "family man" Williams' Garp so enjoys becoming, and which the film so lovingly depicts.
See, for StinkyLulu, the galvanizing appeal of John Irving's fictions derives from the queer marriages he stages between biological and chosen families. The world of this film is jam-packed -- in typical Irving style -- with crazy and delightful characters, devoted to each other yet not always connected by conventional blood relations. This constellation -- in turn -- allows for a thrilling accumulation of character performances, big and small, which y'all know Lulu's just a sucker for. Stage legends John Lithgow (as tranny footballer Roberta) and Swoosie Kurtz (as the unsuspecting hooker whose life changes forever after an encounter with Garp & Jenny) are excellent. Kaiulani Lee, Tandy & Cronyn, and Amanda Plummer -- in an electrifying 58 second performance -- are uniformly great. Even Mary Beth Hurt is really good (and StinkyLulu doesn't say that often). And even more than Garp, Close's Jenny heals them all so they become a queerly wonderful family. (And dang if StinkyLulu ain't a total sucker for that...)
Glenn Close's performance remains a kind of mystery to StinkyLulu -- a strangely affecting performance in a curiously effective film, fascinating then and now. Still don't quite know what to think of it in terms of trophies or actressing at the edges, but dang if Close's performance doesn't work some interesting magic here.
SO, lovely reader, there we go; sorry for the delay. Look for Kim Stanley on Wednesday. And just one week until 1982's Supporting Actress Smackdown.... Whee.