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What's Eating Gilbert Grape

What's Eating Gilbert Grape

4.5 35
Director: Lasse Hallström,

Cast: Johnny Depp, Juliette Lewis, Mary Steenburgen


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Swedish director Lasse Hallstrom's follow-up to the underrated Once Around earned far more attention than its predecessor thanks to the judicious casting of perennial thinking woman's heartthrob Johnny Depp and a certain up-and-coming thespian by the name of Leonardo DiCaprio. A prisoner of his dysfunctional family's broken dreams in tiny Endora, IA, Gilbert


Swedish director Lasse Hallstrom's follow-up to the underrated Once Around earned far more attention than its predecessor thanks to the judicious casting of perennial thinking woman's heartthrob Johnny Depp and a certain up-and-coming thespian by the name of Leonardo DiCaprio. A prisoner of his dysfunctional family's broken dreams in tiny Endora, IA, Gilbert (Depp) serves as breadwinner and caretaker for his mother and siblings following his father's suicide and his older brother's defection. Momma (Darlene Cates) is a morbidly obese shut-in who hasn't left the house in seven years; her children include retarded Arnie (DiCaprio), who's about to turn 18 despite a host of negative medical forecasts, and terminally embarrassed Ellen (Mary Kate Schellhardt), who's emerging from an awkward adolescence. When he's not taking care of the difficult but tender Arnie, Gilbert spends his time fixing up the family's tattered farmhouse, working at a failing mom-and-pop grocery store and hanging with local misfits Bobby (Crispin Glover), an overly ambitious junior undertaker, and Tucker (John C. Reilly), a handyman who hankers after a job at the new burger franchise. Into this complicated but essentially unchanging social universe steps Becky (Juliette Lewis), a thoughtful young woman who's been escorting her nomadic grandmother from state to state in a mobile-home caravan. As Becky teaches Gilbert to finally consider his own happiness for a change, she disrupts both his family obligations and his long-running affair with a lonely housewife (Mary Steenburgen). Adapted by Peter Hedges from his own novel of the same name, What's Eating Gilbert Grape was the first and only film role for non-actress Cates, whom the filmmakers discovered on an episode of the Sally Jesse Raphael Show titled "Too Heavy to Leave Their House."

Editorial Reviews

Barnes & Noble - Ed Hulse
Charmingly offbeat and low-key, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? focuses on the plight of its eponymous protagonist, a young man who’d love nothing more than to leave his dysfunctional family and sleepy rural community. But Gilbert, played with warmth and sensitivity by Johnny Depp, is restrained by a sense of duty to his morbidly obese mother (Darlene Cates) and mentally handicapped younger brother (Leonardo DiCaprio, who snagged an Oscar nomination for his eye-opening turn). He can’t bring himself to bolt, even when his older lover (Mary Steenburgen) announces that she’s going to leave him behind. Swedish director Lasse Hallstrom (Chocolat) exhibits a surprising affinity for small-town America, which he depicts in an occasionally unflattering but generally accurate manner. His efforts are most readily apparent in the performances of his principal players, who are uniformly excellent. Depp anchors the film, but DiCaprio and Juliette Lewis -- playing a trailer-park teen who gets Gilbert on the rebound -- provide rock-solid support, and Cates (a nonactor whom Hallstrom discovered on a talk show) is almost unbearably poignant as a character who’s as pitiable as she is unsympathetic. Neither as grotesque or flamboyant as other films that have traversed similar dramatic byways, Gilbert Grape lingers in memory, owing to the honesty with which it portrays the primary characters and the constricted world they inhabit.
All Movie Guide - Brian J. Dillard
This tender but unflinching examination of the tension between individual happiness and family obligation neatly condenses a large ensemble, a lengthy backstory and a lot of subtext into two delightfully cinematic hours. Just a touch of voice-over from leading man Johnny Depp sets the stage for a story that is told from his character's viewpoint even as it takes in a host of supporting players and deals with such tangential issues as frustrated infidelity and the strip-malling of America. After his roguish turn in This Boy's Life, Leonardo DiCaprio made his name as a serious young actor with his top-notch work as the retarded Arnie; spot-on physical and vocal mannerisms broadcast DiCaprio's technical prowess, but his performance here has the sort of emotional undertow and sly, if childlike, intelligence that has eluded other actors as accomplished as Dustin Hoffman in similar roles. Non-actress Darlene Cates is fantastic as the manipulative yet ultimately dignified and sympathetic Momma, while the supporting cast, from John C. Reilly and Crispin Glover to Juliette Lewis and Mary Streenburgen, provides comic asides, thoughtful interludes, and catharsis upon command. In the end, though, it's Depp and director Lasse Hallstrom who hold it all together, the former actually using his soulful eyes instead of coasting on the beauty of his gravity-defying cheekbones, the latter deftly balancing pathos and contemplation and keeping his large cast and story in line.
Chicago Sun-Times - Roger Ebert
One of the most enchanting movies of the year.
Austin Chronicle
All tics, flailings, and full-open, drooling laughter, DiCaprio seems to have captured the damaged heart and soul of Arnie Grape. Marc Savlov

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Paramount Catalog
Region Code:
[Wide Screen, Color]
[Dolby Digital Stereo, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround]

Special Features

Closed-Caption Commentary By Director Lasse Hallström And Writer Peter Hedges The Characters Of Gilbert Grape The Voice Of Gilbert Grape Why We Love Gilbert Grape Original Theatrical Trailer Photo Gallery

Related Subjects

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Johnny Depp Gilbert Grape
Juliette Lewis Becky
Mary Steenburgen Betty Carver
Leonardo DiCaprio Arnie Grape
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 Becky's Grandma
Gail Levin Actor
Tim Green Mr. Lamson
Susan Loughran Mrs. Lamson
Cameron Finley Doug Carver
Libby Villari Waitress
Joe Stevens Burger Barn manager
Mona Lee Fultz Bakery Worker
George Haynes Dave
Brady Coleman Sheriff Farrel

Technical Credits
Lasse Hallström Director,Executive Producer
Alan C. Blomquist Executive Producer
Jo Edna Boldin Casting
Janet Brady Stunts
David Brownlow Sound/Sound Designer
Bernt Amadeus Capra Production Designer
Chris Hayes Camera Operator
Peter Hedges Screenwriter
David B. Householter Asst. Director
Björn Isfält Score Composer
Kevin Jewison Camera Operator
Renee Ehrlich Kalfus Costumes/Costume Designer
Gail Levin Casting
David Matalon Producer
Anastas Michos Camera Operator
Andrew Mondshein Editor
John Myhre Art Director
Sven Nykvist Cinematographer
Bertil Ohlsson Producer
Alan Parker Score Composer
Scott Prescott Special Effects
Gary Price Stunts
Gretchen Rau Set Decoration/Design
Paul Stewart Special Effects
Meir Teper Producer
Patty York Makeup

Scene Index

Disc #1 -- What's Eating Gilbert Grape
1. Chapter 1 [:19]
2. Chapter 2 [3:46]
3. Chapter 3 [4:25]
4. Chapter 4 [3:03]
5. Chapter 5 [5:11]
6. Chapter 6 [5:17]
7. Chapter 7 [2:48]
8. Chapter 8 [:42]
9. Chapter 9 [7:18]
10. Chapter 10 [2:07]
11. Chapter 11 [5:53]
12. Chapter 12 [1:01]
13. Chapter 13 [7:06]
14. Chapter 14 [7:51]
15. Chapter 15 [7:58]
16. Chapter 16 [7:58]
17. Chapter 17 [3:11]
18. Chapter 18 [3:25]
19. Chapter 19 [1:28]
20. Chapter 20 [7:50]
21. Chapter 21 [:30]
22. Chapter 22 [3:11]
23. Chapter 23 [4:15]
24. Chapter 24 [4:13]
25. Chapter 25 [1:34]
26. Chapter 26 [2:08]
27. Chapter 27 [5:14]
28. Chapter 28 [3:06]
29. Chapter 29 [1:34]
30. Chapter 30 [3:03]
31. Chapter 31 [:06]


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What's Eating Gilbert Grape 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 35 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was deep and lovable, this is one of my personal favorites!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is so heartwarming. It is has Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio so you know that it will be great! This is the perfect chick flick that will even make your boyfriend cry! Everyone should watch this film!
Guest More than 1 year ago
i like johnny depp and leo dicaprio. this is the best movie i've seen of johnny and leonardo. it's very inspiring, heart-warming, funny, and also sad. i totally recommend this movie for anyone, young or old. for this movie, you will need tissues.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Beyond the fact that every American family is dysfunctional in its own way, how many times will we admit the fact. A brilliant eye opener to the society of today that we all are alike in some sort of sense. Times of laughter and depression due to the simple fact that you are actually watching your home videos when you are watching this masterpiece. Thank you for opening eyes along the way Gilbert and Arnie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this movie is so good, it makes me want to read the book ASAP. Johnny does a great job as Gilbert ! and the rest of the cast is awesome as well.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this film was the biggest waste of my time i feel sorry for those who actually enjoyed this film. it went on forever and i just about had to resort to shooting the dvd with my sawn off shotgun just to make it stop.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Whats eating Gilbert Grape was one of the best movies I have ever seen Mr. Johnny Depp act in. I think that we have all seen this type of disfuctioanl family or even have this type of family. He is an amazing actor and with this movie touched many people. I reccomend this movie to just about everyone, it is a touching film and an amazing adventure. Dont miss out on this movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this was an amazing film, the last thing expected was for gilbert to strike out at arnie but it is the start of the good things to come! once again depp has put on an astounding performance and the two boys (depp and DiCaprio) work together in perfect harmony!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Touching and real.
michie8702 More than 1 year ago
This movie had such a great story line behind it. It was funny & sad. The acting was great with every character. Makes you think more about your life. Would recommend everyone to see this movie. It was a great movie overall!
Guest More than 1 year ago
"What's eating Gilbert Grape" is one of my absolute favorite movies. It's honest and very entertaining. I couldn't disagree more with the other reviewer "Cledis the homo", it was NOT a waste of time.Maybe Cledis should stop feeling sorry for people who like it and pay attention to his spelling. P.S. Forest Gump (note the "G") sucks!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
best movie ever i loved it. it made me cry laugh and mad it reminded me of peeps i know
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie made me understand more about the troubles and joys of having a handicapped brother or obease mother, it also points out how frustrating everyday family life is.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Yo if you havnt seen this movie yet you better. It had all a good movie needs. A retarted kid, a fat chick, and a cool guy thats trying to make a living. Wow what a combo. You can almost feel what the movie is about. This movie really inspired me.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Johnny Depp is a awesome actor (super hot I must add). What's Eating Gilbert Grape is a movie that will make you laugh and make you cry. It is the most moving movie I have ever seen! If you haven't seen it yet SEE IT!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie is sad, a little bit romantic, but very depressing. Johnny Depp did wonderfl as Gilbert and Leonardo DiCaprio did good as Arnie.It is really touching. If you are sad, I wouldn't reccomend watching it. It's a tear-jerker! Simply Depptastic!!!!
shjohns2 More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this movie-not your typical movie, but it is excellent.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Words I can use to describe about What's Eating Gilbert Grape won't be good enough. Johnny Depp, Juliette Lewis, John C. Reilly, Darlene Cates, the incredible Leonardo DiCaprio, and the rest of the cast took this film into something so magnificent that it is so hard to think What's Eating Gilbert Grape is less than a perfect film. Much of the credit is deserved by Lasse Hallstrom. So amazing as it sounds, there is only one Academy Award nomination for this film: which goes to Leonardo DiCaprio who richly deserved it. I don't know what the Academy Award committee is looking for in a film, but they missed this one by a mile. Most deserved nominations are for Johnny Depp, Juliette Lewis, Darlene Cates, John C. Reilly, Lasse Hallstrom, and best picture. I know Schindler's List is far superior to this film, but What's Eating Gilbert Grape is a very remarkably heartwarming spectacular film.
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