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As many have said, the first time I saw this slice of "unusual" life film, I was certain that the actor playing Arnie was mentally handicapped. This was the performance to end all. I have been around mentally challenged people who were the carbon copy of the character that Leonardo portrayed. I do no think that anyone else could have pulled this off without looking ridiculous. Our protagonist, Mr. Johnny Depp did his usual amazing work, but it is the performance by Leo that makes this film a must see. I just saw it again tonight, and was blown away again. Acting schools must have copies of this in their files!! Will always be a Leo fan for this one film alone.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
What's Eating Gilbert Grape is one of those little treasures that for
the most part most people do know about, mainly due to Leonardo
DiCaprio's knock out performance as Arnie Grape. But both he and Johnny
had this great chemistry together that made what could have been a very
boring movie into an extremely touching piece of film that meant more
and more to me as I grew up. When I was a kid and watched this film, I
just loved laughing at all of Arnie's jokes not realizing why he was so
silly. As a teenager I could start to relate to having a little more
pressure with a job and school. Then as an adult and having my mother
become ill, I could relate completely to Gilbert in his frustrations of
just wanting to be young and enjoy his life. I think that's why this
film is special to a lot of people, those who have felt the added
little pressures in life and makes you think on what's eating at you?
This is the story of Gilbert Grape.
In the small town of Endora, Gilbert Grape is busy caring for his mentally handicapped brother, Arnie. His morbidly obese mother, Bonnie has done little except eat since her husband died, and longs only to see Arnie live to the age of 18. With Bonnie unable to care for her children on her own, Gilbert has taken responsibility for repairing the old house and looking after Arnie, who has a habit of climbing the town water tower, while his sisters Amy and Ellen do the rest. The relationship between the brothers is of both care and protection, as Gilbert continually enforces the 'nobody touches Arnie' policy. A new "Foodland" supermarket has opened, threatening the small Lamson's Grocery where Gilbert works. In addition, Gilbert is having an affair with a married woman, Betty Carver. The family is looking forward to Arnie's 18th birthday. A young woman named Becky and her grandmother are stuck in town when their car breaks down. Gilbert's unusual life circumstances threaten to get in the way of their possible romance. His affair with Mrs Carver ends when she leaves town in search of a new life following her husbands death,. Becky becomes close to both Gilbert and Arnie and as she talks to Gilbert she begins to unlock some buried hopes, dreams and happiness. Later on, Arnie tries to run away yet again from his bath and in his frustration Gilbert finally snaps, hitting Arnie several times. Guilty and appalled at himself, Gilbert takes the car and runs out without another word, fearing that he is leaving his family just like his father and brother did.
What's Eating Gilbert Grape is just an incredibly beautiful and touching movie that will always have a special place in my heart. It makes you laugh, cry, and think about how precious life is. All the characters are relatable or likable in some way. Even in the smallest of all towns where it seems like it's just dead, there is life. That's what this movie is about to me, everyone has a story and everyone has an experience to share. This is just a terrific film, quality acting and a heart felt story, I very much recommend that if you get the chance to watch it. If anything for Leonardo DiCaprio's incredible performance and Johnny Depp singing to him "Match in the gas tank, boom boom!".
This film is marvelous.
Focusing on the angst of an unwanted small-town life, the film follows the daily life of Johnny Depp's Gilbert Grape. He is sarcastic yet introverted, protective yet shy.
His mentally-challenged brother, Leonardo Dicaprio's Arnie, steals the heart and full attention of the audience. His depiction of a teenager trapped in the inescapable bind of mental retardation is moving and real, deserving of the 1993 Oscar Award Nomination.
Darlene Cates, who plays Momma, delivers a truly remarkable performance. Her display of motherly devotion, emotional turmoil and daily physical struggle are deserving of grand recognition.
Gilbert's life is turned around by the unexpected introduction of Juliette Lewis's Becky. Becky's free-spirited and optimistic take on life greatly influence's Gilbert's own life.
WHAT'S EATING GILBERT GRAPE is deeply tragic yet deeply real tale of a complicated family stuck in a simple town. The performances of Johnny Depp, Leonardo Dicaprio, Darlene Cates and Juliette Lewis are unmatched and truly wonderful. It is a film woven together with comedy, drama, love and everyday emotion, perfected with beautiful cinematography and superb directing.
This film starts out slow, but after we get to know the characters and
their (dis)abilities, we begin to place ourselves in their shoes and
the action picks up. Perhaps Leonardo DiCaprio's best performance ever,
this movie is a true drama.
The focus of the movie is of course Gilbert Grape (Johnny Depp). However, there are really several focal points in the movie, all of which add to a powerful storyline. As the title of the film suggests, just about everything seems to be a hardship for Gilbert, yet, somehow he manages to come to terms with reality and in the end obtains a newfound respect for life.
With good performances by supporting actors and actresses (Juliette Lewis, Darlene Cates, Leo D., and all the other "Grapes") and a nice comic relief from the city coroner (Bobby McBurney) and the local handyman (John C. Reilly), this movie should be seen by anyone who wishes to put themselves in a place where country roads and beautiful greenery give way to the perils and pitfalls of smalltown life.
Overall great acting, a good story, and something with which we can all relate. "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" is an excellent movie!
One of the delights of having raised a family and having more time to
yourself s that you get to go back and watch all the movies you missed.
I am just now getting to explore the actors whose careers have been
postponed, in our lives, by Ninja Turtles and Disney. I fell in lust
with Johnny Depp in Pirates of the Caribbean and he made me a real fan
in Finding Neverland. But in Gilbert Grape, he won my heart completely.
This man can act with his eyes. The biggest surprise was Leo DiCaprio
as Arnie. Amazing, and he was only 19 when the film was released. He
gave an amazing portrayal of a boy who goes in and out of his own
world. Juliette Lewis was a quiet storm in this film; she gave Gilbert
an anchor of solid acceptance when the pain of his life almost got the
best of him.
The casting worked perfectly to create family dynamics that were so very real that they did not even seem brandable as dysfunctional. I appreciated that the mother was never portrayed as less intelligent simply because she was overweight. I loved that the kids did everything they could to protect their mother and their disturbed brother from outside influences and hurt feelings. They stuck together until the end which actually became the beginning. A hopeful and joyous film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
This film is one of the best I've ever seen. However, as I was once
Gilbert, I found little to no comedy. I found the movie to be an
excellent portrayal of a torn young man, trying to cope with the hand
that had been dealt him. Gilbert was torn between the love for his
mother and his anger with her at her condition. He was upset over
having to sacrifice what he felt was his own life and goals to care for
a family who could not care for themselves. In the end, Gilbert was
smarter and more mature than your average kid entering the world as a
new adult. And his mother's death taught him that it is okay to be
angry about the situation, as long as you learn from it and don't
wallow in the self-pity.
I read a review from a person that said that there wasn't a plot to this story. I must disagree. There was a strong plot about family love, anger, honor (all the usual family matters, more visible in a dysfunctional family) and a subplot of rebellion. This movie made me cry when others were laughing. This movie was about my childhood. Loved it.
A remarkable film that once viewed, will leave an indelible impression on your heart, your mind, your spirit. Set in a run down, going nowhere town, amidst a population of largely rundown, going nowhere people, Gilbert Grape takes us on a journey through the everyday life of one family in which each member is struggling to find his identity. Johnny Depp as Gilbert is at his finest, sensitive and lovingly protective of his mentally challenged younger brother, Arnie, less understanding of the plight of his grossly overweight mother played brilliantly by Darlene Cates. Gilbert just wants a normal life, a life he seems resigned to being deprived of. He seeks solace in the attentions of a wandering housewife played by Mary Steenburgen. Enter Juliette Lewis as Becky, who captures his heart, personifying all the passion for life and freedom of spirit Gilbert aspires to. There are many memorable moments in this film, moments you cannot forget, but suffice it to say, What's Eating Gilbert Grape will leave you feeling grateful for everything you ever took for granted, especially those you love!
I thought I wouldn't like this. I decided to see it because I'm a fan of
Johnny Depp who appeared in some of my favorite movies [ Edward
Scissorhands, Benny and Joon, etc. ] I knew what the plot was: a guy who
lives with his 15 year old sister, his 18 year old mentally disabled brother
who could die at any time and his morbidly obese mother always has to do
everything for his family and something happens that changes his life. It
sounded like it was a typical sappy drama. I usually hate dramas like that.
Movies in which the only point is to feel bad for the characters. But this
one was quite different.
The plot in this movie is unclear, which makes it appealing in my opinion. There isn't a lot of events in the movie, really. It all revolves around Arnie's birthday and Gilbert's meeting with the new girl. The movie is very slow paced and doesn't rely on action and shock to catch his viewer's attentions. It's moving, but the dialogues are also very simple. You might expect this movie to be over-dramatic but it's everything but that. The situation and story are extremely sad, but I never felt overwhelmed by this. Keep in mind that I can't usually handle dramas very well.
The movie is about partly about Gilbert, but it also describes life in this town very well. Gilbert's family often has a big impact on the other people in this town, so it's natural that they would be the family that the movie is about. What's also really nice is that Gilbert isn't portrayed as a hero in this movie. He has flaws, and he can make mistakes even if he's taking care of everyone. He is not the typical good-hearted young adult or teenager who's taking care of everyone and wants to give everything for his family. He actually has feelings of his own and he is trying to find himself. The whole movie is about his quest to find who he really is, if he isn't Gilbert Grape, the guy who's always running after his brother Arnie.
Another good point about this movie is the way it was filmed. The visuals are great and the way the movie was made makes us feel like we're seeing life in a different way than usual.
Truly, this is one beautiful movie. It doesn't go for cheap tears but
in the end you must feel something, otherwise you simply don't have a
heart. It's about a town, Endora, where nothing ever happens. In that
town live the Grapes, a fatherless family that consists of a mother of
elephant-like proportions, two sisters and two brothers (one of them
All the acting ranks from very good to excellent. Johnny Depp is so lovable as Gilbert Grape, the twenty-year-old son who tries to do good for everyone but doesn't know quite what he wants for himself yet. Leonardo DiCaprio is simply amazing as the retarded Arnie. He rightfully got an Oscar-nomination for his roll. At the time I saw this movie, I didn't know him yet, so at some moments I actually thought that he really could be a retarded actor (that's a big complement, isn't it?).
The plot isn't too spectacular, but keeps you interested 'cause actually a lot of things do happen to certain character's in this sleepy town. A lot of things the characters say and do seem superficial, but actually aren't meaningless as they lead to other events in the story. And the arrival of Becky (Juliette Lewis) and her mother make things interesting for Gilbert. The ending is unexpected, very solid and sad. And then there's the little epilogue...
This simply is a great movie: Good story, good acting, good directing. And that's all it takes. Watch it and allow yourselves to be moved by the Grapes.
The first time I saw this film, I had yet to know the name Leonardo
DiCaprio. And I was stunned. Is that actor really retarded or what? His
acting is so excellent, you don't need to doubt why he got to be so
But all others perform real well also. I have always had an eye for Depp's acting, and Lewis is, like always, little. The new thing is that she's kind and caring.
This is a great film, and if nothing else, watch it because a swede directed it.
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