Movie and Film Reviews (MFR) Drama What’s eating Gilbert Grape

What’s eating Gilbert Grape

What’s eating Gilbert Grape is a light hearted drama that stars Johnny Depp as Gilbert Grape and Leonardo DiCaprio as Arnie, his mentally challenged younger brother. They live with their obese mother and their two sisters in the small town of Endora, Iowa.

Gilbert has a normal life that most men have. He has a regular day job, has a pickup, and puts his family before himself. He is very protective over his brother Arnie, and takes him everywhere he goes. Gilbert has a lot of emotions built up inside him, because his father committed suicide seven years earlier, and Gilbert feels that the weight of taking care of the family was left on him. Gilbert meets a young lady named Becky (played by Juliette Lewis), who is stuck in town with her grandmother because their trailer broke down. Gilbert soon falls for Becky, causing him to leave Betty Carver, the older married woman he is having an affair with (played by Mary Steenburgen). Gilbert begins to get frustrated with all the responsibilities, and hurts his younger brother. Gilbert had all the emotions built up inside, and he lashed out at the wrong person. He is forgiven by Arnie, and Becky helps him realize that life is not passing him by.

The acting in the film was outstanding. Leonardo DiCaprio earned his first Oscar for his role of Arnie Grape, and it was well deserved. If I did not know who DiCaprio was, I would have thought that he was really mentally challenged. Johnny Depp had his usual all star performance, proving just how bad it can be to feel that life is passing you by.

I really liked the directing in this film. The setting of the small town was great, it helped show just how caved in Gilbert was. I also liked how the film was set in the fall, it was another thing that added to Gilbert being depressed. I didn’t like how Gilbert hit Arnie, though I do think it got the message across good. I would rather have seen Gilbert yell and scream at Arnie, but it did contribute to Gilberts feelings.

This is my favorite movie, and it is not that well known. I strongly recommend it if you are looking for a different movie to watch. It is one of those movies where you don’t have to think to put the whole thing together, it is just a good movie. It suits movie buffs who really know what a good movie is, or people who are looking for a great simple comedy drama.


“Life is a terrible thing to sleep through.”

“Living in Endora is like dancing to no music.”

“Arnie knows a secret: His brother Gilbert is the best person in the world.”

“Life hasn’t passed Gilbert by… it’s just taken a slight detour.”

1 thought on “What’s eating Gilbert Grape”

  1. First off – a correction. DiCaprio did NOT win an Oscar for his portrayal of Arnie. He was nominated, but did not take home the statuette.

    The rest of your review I totally agree with. This film “looks” dull, so it may be difficult to get your friends to watch it (as it has been mine), but it’s rare to actually capture emotion on film. Gilbert is suffocating in Endora and each person who watches this film can feel their chest tightening.

    Good review.

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