November 28, 2016 8 min to read

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993) Review – Inspirational Movie Monday

Category : Uncategorized

“What do you want for you? Just for you?”
“I Want to be a good person”

As I posted earlier last week on Facebook , my apologies for slacking on my Inspirational Movie Monday reviews, I was busy working over the weekend and was too tired to watch a film and write about it, but I promise to all the readers out there, that won’t happen again! As an apology, I’m gonna post 2 of my Inspirational Monday reviews today, to make up for missing last week. So stay tuned for that, I’ll post one in the morning and one around 5 pm.

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape was a film that I had many people recommend to me, and it took me way too long to watch. I knew my father had a copy in the house somewhere, but I could never find it. It wasn’t until it hit Netflix (it unfortunately is not there now, but it goes away and comes back a lot). I remember watching it for the first time and being absolutely blown away by the story and the characters.

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape is a Drama film about a man named Gilbert (Johnny Depp) who is roughly the father of the Grape family, he is always takes care of his younger intellectually disabled brother, Arnie (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his well-fed mother. His responsibilities are challenged when love walks into his life.

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape is directed by Lasse Hallstrom. Hallstrom is a director I didn’t think I was too familiar with, but after looking up his filmography on IMDb, I have definitely without knowing watched some of his other films. His filmography consists of The Cider House Rules (1999), Chocolat (2000), The Shipping News (2001), Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (2009), Dear John (2010), Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2011), Safe Haven (2013), and The Hundred-Foot Journey (2014). I enjoy his directing, he is able to make all his actors portrayal of the characters seem real. This sounds really ridiculous to say, but he is able to get his actors to encompass the characters, so that they’re no longer actors, but the characters themselves. I didn’t feel like I was watching a movie, but I was watching like a Day-In-The-Life sort of thing. I don’t think that this feat is an easy thing to do, but Hallstrom definitely pulls it off. I’d be interested to see his other films again now that I know what he has directed in order to see if this feeling carries on throughout his other directed films.

The Writer of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape is also the author of the book, Peter Hedges. His other films he wrote are About a Boy (2002), Dan In Real Life (2007), The Odd Life of Timothy Green (2012), and The Good Dinosaur (2015). I really like the way that Hedges writes his characters, and I think with the brilliant directing of Lasse Hallstorm, it was a match made in heaven. All the characters of What’s Eating Gilbert Grape were so well written and had multiple layers to them, and this wouldn’t be possible without Hedges great screenplay. The writing was definitely well done, and real. There was one scene that actually kind of bothered me where Gilbert (Johnny Depp) kinda breaks character, but after thinking about it I think it was intensional. I don’t want to spoil anything, but if you want to discuss it if you’ve seen it, then we can definitely discuss it! We can determine whether it was intentional or not.

I think a major draw to What’s Eating Gilbert Grape is the cast. The cast is absolutely jam packed with talent, and its interesting to think that this was the film that brought a lot of really talented people together before they got their big break. The film stars Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Juliette Lewis, and many other big actors today, I cut it down so that it wouldn’t be too bogged down with people but you’ll definitely recognize some of the supporting cast. I’m quite sure you’ve heard of many of these actors, if not you’ve been under a rock for a little while.

Johnny Depp plays Gilbert Grape. Depp’s filmography consists of A Nightmare On Elm Street (1984), Platoon (1986), Cry-Baby (1990), Edward Scissorhands (1990), Ed Wood (1994), Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998), Sleepy Hollow (1999), Chocolat (2000), Blow (2001), Pirates of The Caribbean series (2003-2011), Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005), Corpse Bride (2005), Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber Of Fleet Street (2007), Public Enemies (2009), and Black Mass (2015). Honestly, it is always great to watch Johnny Depp act. He’s been in so many great films, some were a lot better than others, and I definitely have my favourite films that he did. He did a fantastic job in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. He really was Gilbert. This also to me was also one of the least over the top roles he has done. As much as I love his collaborations with Tim Burton, all of the films that he does with him are a bit over the top, and the older collaborations I prefer a lot more than the newer ones. But I’ll always watch a Burton/Depp collaboration. But it was Gilbert Grape that really showed me that he is a great and real actor, who can really do anything. Like i said earlier my only gripe was the part where I thought he really broke character whether it was intensional or not.

Leonardo DiCaprio plays Arnie Grape. DiCaprio’s filmography consists of The Basketball Diaries (1995), Titanic (1997), The Beach (2000), Gang’s Of New York (2002), Catch Me If You Can (2002), The Aviator (2004), The Departed (2006), Blood Diamond (2006), Revolutionary Road (2008), Shutter Island (2010), Inception (2010), Django Unchained (2012), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), and The Revenant (2015). I’m gonna get this out there now, I think Leonardo DiCaprio is one of the finest and hardest working actors working in Hollywood. His oscar that he earned for The Revenant (2015) was long overdue and well deserved. After he won it, there was a lot of talk on the internet saying that he shouldn’t have won for this film. To that I say no, I think he did. There was nothing at all last year that really hit me as hard as he did in that film, maybe the closest was Mark Ruffalo in Spotlight, but I’m glad DiCaprio finally won. Back to Gilbert, sorry I got a little carried away. DiCaprio in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape is crazy, in a good way. I actually forgot I was watching Leonardo DiCaprio act, he really took the role and made it his own. I forgot I was watching a movie, and that I was watching him act. He really did deserve the nomination that year at the oscars for Best Actor in a Supporting Role (Where he lost that year to Tommy Lee Jone’s in The Fugitive-1993). I can’t wait to see what DiCaprio does next, but he definitely stole the show in this movie which is difficult with the amount of talent that is in it.

Julliette Lewis plays Becky. Lewis’ filmography consists of Christmas Vacation (1989), Cape Fear (1991), Kalifornia (1993), Natural Born Killers (1994), Strange Days (1995), The Basketball Diaries (1995), From Dusk Till Dawn (1996), Enough (2002), Old School (2003), Starsky & Hutch (2004), Whip It (2009), The Switch (2010), and Nerve (2016). I honestly can’t explain why, but I really like Juliette Lewis and her acting chops. Its always interesting to see what she does next, as all her roles, at least the films that I have seen are different. She was great in this film, and definitely is one of my favourite films that she has done.

All the acting in this movie is great. Everybody really wrapped their heads around the character they were portraying and it felt like we were being told a story and not so much watching a movie.

This movie really hit me and inspired me. As weird as it is to be inspired by a film such as this. But I like to help people and I like to help my family, and sometimes I feel stuck in a rut like Gilbert was in this movie. So I really see a lot of myself in Gilbert, except you know… I’m not Johnny Depp. This movie taught me and inspired me that family is always the most important thing in life, which was something I always believed but this really reinforced it. Family is so important that I consider some of my friends like a brother or a sister to me, as they’re extremely important to me. I put them under that family umbrella to ensure that they’re part of my family too. No matter how hard life gets, theres always a way to help your family, even when you feel in a rut. You can turn to your family or your close friends to get you back on track.

Ever since I watched this movie a couple years ago, its a film I find myself watching once every few months, or if I need a moment of inspiration or a reminder I’ll throw it in and just be whisked away for 2 hours.

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape gets a 4/5 from me.

If you want to see a star studded cast in a great film, with a bunch of hints of originality, look no further than What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.

Until Next Time (or in this case the second Inspirational Movie Monday posted), Stay Inspired!

-Andrew

**I have no advanced screenings coming up as of this review being written, but I definitely plan on going to the theatre soon to see Robert Zemeckis’ Allied and Denis Villeneuve’s Arrival sooner than later, and I will definitely write reviews on those. I also think i’ll go back and review 10 Cloverfield Lane and Green Room from earlier this year.**

 

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