7.8/10
207,451
341 user 90 critic

What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)

PG-13 | | Drama | 4 March 1994 (USA)
A young man in a small Midwestern town struggles to care for his mentally-disabled younger brother and morbidly obese mother while attempting to pursue his own happiness.

Director:

Lasse Hallström

Writers:

Peter Hedges (novel), Peter Hedges (screenplay)
Reviews
Popularity
841 ( 33)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 8 wins & 6 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Johnny Depp ... Gilbert Grape
Leonardo DiCaprio ... Arnie Grape
Juliette Lewis ... Becky
Mary Steenburgen ... Betty Carver
Darlene Cates ... Momma
Laura Harrington ... Amy Grape
Mary Kate Schellhardt ... Ellen Grape
Kevin Tighe ... Mr. Carver
John C. Reilly ... Tucker Van Dyke
Crispin Glover ... Bobby McBurney
Penelope Branning Penelope Branning ... Becky's Grandma
Tim Green Tim Green ... Mr. Lamson
Susan Loughran Susan Loughran ... Mrs. Lamson
Robert B. Hedges Robert B. Hedges ... Minister (as Rev. Robert B. Hedges)
Mark Jordan Mark Jordan ... Todd Carver

Johnny Depp Through the Years

Take a look back at Johnny Depp's movie and TV career in photos.

See more Johnny

Learn more

More Like This 

Biography | Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A teenager finds his dreams of becoming a basketball star threatened after he free falls into the harrowing world of drug addiction.

Director: Scott Kalvert
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Lorraine Bracco, Marilyn Sokol
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

The story about the relationship between a rebellious 1950s teenager and his abusive stepfather, based on the memoirs of writer and literature Professor Tobias Wolff.

Director: Michael Caton-Jones
Stars: Robert De Niro, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Barkin
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Shakespeare's famous play is updated to the hip modern suburb of Verona still retaining its original dialogue.

Director: Baz Luhrmann
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes, John Leguizamo
The Aviator (2004)
Biography | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A biopic depicting the early years of legendary Director and aviator Howard Hughes' career from the late 1920s to the mid 1940s.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale
The Beach I (2000)
Adventure | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

Vicenarian Richard travels to Thailand and finds himself in possession of a strange map. Rumours state that it leads to a solitary beach paradise, a tropical bliss. Excited and intrigued, he sets out to find it.

Director: Danny Boyle
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel York, Patcharawan Patarakijjanon
Benny & Joon (1993)
Comedy | Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A mentally ill young woman finds her love in an eccentric man who models himself after Buster Keaton.

Director: Jeremiah S. Chechik
Stars: Johnny Depp, Mary Stuart Masterson, Aidan Quinn
Drama | Fantasy | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  

An artificial man, who was incompletely constructed and has scissors for hands, leads a solitary life. Then one day, a suburban lady meets him and introduces him to her world.

Director: Tim Burton
Stars: Johnny Depp, Winona Ryder, Dianne Wiest
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A writer and wall street trader, Nick, finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor, Jay Gatsby.

Director: Baz Luhrmann
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton
Marvin's Room (1996)
Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  

After 20 years caring for her father, a woman with cancer now must re-connect with her trashy sister and nephews she's never met after being diagnosed. Her love helps the angry teen nephew, and her sister learns to relate to people.

Director: Jerry Zaks
Stars: Meryl Streep, Leonardo DiCaprio, Diane Keaton
Chocolat (2000)
Drama | Romance
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

A woman and her daughter open a chocolate shop in a small French village that shakes up the rigid morality of the community.

Director: Lasse Hallström
Stars: Juliette Binoche, Judi Dench, Alfred Molina
Blood Diamond (2006)
Adventure | Drama | Thriller
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8/10 X  

A fisherman, a smuggler, and a syndicate of businessmen match wits over the possession of a priceless diamond.

Director: Edward Zwick
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Djimon Hounsou, Jennifer Connelly
Crime | Drama
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

In 1862, Amsterdam Vallon returns to the Five Points area of New York City seeking revenge against Bill the Butcher, his father's killer.

Director: Martin Scorsese
Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Daniel Day-Lewis
Edit

Storyline

What's Eating Gibert Grape is a beautifully shot movie of tenderness, caring and self-awareness that is set amongst the fictional working class one street town Endora. Centred around the Grape family Ellen and Amy and their two brothers Arnie and Gilbert, who, along with their morbidly obese widowed mother Bonnie Grape are striving to survive and coexist with the absence of a father figure, low wage work and seventeen-year-old Arnie's severe mental condition. It is in this awkward and extremely one sided affair that the unfortunate Gilbert has to constantly, while working for the town's slowly dying convenience store, take care of his younger brother Arnie. Gilbert's life, his future, is thwarted he knows this, but it is in this guardian angel that his love and bond for Arnie cannot, and will not, be let go. That is until the free spirit of Becky arrives in town, and with her grandmother are stranded for the week while waiting for parts for their vehicle. This realization unties new ... Written by Cinema_Fan

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Life is a terrible thing to sleep through. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for elements of mature subject matter | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
Edit

Did You Know?

Trivia

Arnie Grape originally was not supposed to be such a big character in the movie as he is, Leonardo DiCaprio turned Arnie into this really happy, excited character, and really made Arnie stand out, and stole the show. See more »

Goofs

At the start Gilbert says his dad died 17 years ago but then says that his youngest sister, Ellen just turned 15. Therefore their dad could not have fathered Ellen. See more »

Quotes

Arnie: We're not going anywhere! We're not going anywhere!
Arnie: [looks at Gilbert in the truck] Where're you going?
See more »

Connections

Referenced in Spun (2002) See more »

Soundtracks

This Magic Moment
by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman
Performed by The Manor High School Marching Band
See more »

User Reviews

 
Trapped
26 February 2008 | by LechuguillaSee all my reviews

Small American towns nurture kindness and big hearts, as personified by Gilbert Grape (Johnny Depp), a twenty year old guy who heads a loving but difficult family of two younger sisters, a mentally retarded younger brother named Arnie (Leonardo DiCaprio), and their obese momma (Darlene Cates). These are humble, unpretentious common folks who do the best they can. But life in a small town in Iowa is hard, and it can be frustrating and confining. At times, you can feel ... trapped.

The film's theme is explicit. Gilbert is trapped in a vexing family. Arnie is trapped in a body with a flawed brain. Momma is trapped in an obese body. A local woman named Betty (Mary Steenburgen) is trapped in an unsatisfying marriage. A young woman named Becky (Juliette Lewis) is trapped with her grandmother in the town by an RV that has broken down while passing through. Even a grasshopper gets trapped in Arnie's mischievous hands.

Seeing good people trapped in difficult situations is poignant. The film really tugs at your heartstrings. In one sequence, momma must face gawkers as she leaves the courthouse. Her response is inspiring and majestic. Darlene Cates does a wonderful job in this role.

Gilbert and his family live in a modest house. Its interior reminds me of the grim, depressing house in the movie "Silkwood" (1983). The dinner table must be moved each meal to wherever momma is sitting. And typical family conversation centers on preparation for Arnie's birthday party, and debate over ways to cook bacon.

A friend helps Gilbert reinforce the wood floor under Gilbert's house, so that the floor won't collapse under the weight of momma. Gilbert is kind, and has a big heart. And he is very protective of Arnie who has a habit of climbing up the town's water tower.

The townsfolk are satisfied with fulfilling small dreams, like getting a job at the new burger barn, or getting an ice cream snack at the local "Dairy Dreme". Small American towns ... life is familial and loving, but it can also be confining. And this film reminds me a lot of "The Last Picture Show" (1971).

The acting in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" is very good, as is the color cinematography, and production design. I did find the Arnie character to be a bit grating at times. The film's plot is slightly repetitive. And I don't care for the film's title. But these are minor issues.

"What's Eating Gilbert Grape" is a heartfelt story about life in a small American town, with all its kindness, big hearts, and familial love, despite the hardships. The film is worth a serious look, for its thematic depth, for its acting, and for its attention to detail in sets and production design.


55 of 61 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you? | Report this
Review this title | See all 341 user reviews »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »
Edit

Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 March 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

What's Eating Gilbert Grape See more »

Filming Locations:

Georgetown, Texas, USA See more »

Edit

Box Office

Budget:

$11,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$74,421, 19 December 1993

Gross USA:

$10,032,765

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,032,765
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

Contribute to This Page



Recently Viewed