The Grapes are an unusual family. The 'man' of the family had apparently disappeared many years ago, so that role is now Gilbert's (Johnny Depp), the older of 4 kids. There are two girls, and there's Arnie (Leonardo DiCaprio), a mentally challenged boy. Gilbert works and supports the family, as his and their mother is a -in a wild guess- 500 pounds lady who hasn't left her home in years. All she does is sit at a sofa, watch tv, and the eating table is even brought to her so she doesn't have to move much. She even sleeps there.
It's a rather small town where a lot of the inhabitants know each other, but Gilbert seems to want to get out someday, to start his own life. Here's one of the main plots of the film, Gilbert wanting to do something, but knowing it's impossible for the moment, since he has a family to take care of. His two sisters are still studying, and Arnie is a retard who keeps innocently getting in trouble.
Gilbert's life would take a turn when Becky (Juliette Lewis) arrives to town. She looks like the girl next door, but for some reason she caught Gilbert's attention from the very beggining. But Becky is just in town temporarily, they both know she'll eventually leave. The rest of the story I'll leave it to you.
Before I change the subject, I want to say this is a great story. I don't know if Peter Hedges' novel is good or not, but his own screenplay of the film certainly is good. It's one of those stories that get to your heart soemtimes, you know, that makes you wonder what you'd do in that possition, and if you'll ever treat someone the way the characters treat themselves, etc.
Now, what I've heard about this film is that it contained DiCrapio's best acting job up to date.. Well, it seems to me that whenever someone plays a retard, it's automatically considered an Oscar worthy performance. I'm not saying DiCaprio was bad, but he wasn't as special as some people will tell you. I think Depp was better, but actually the entire cast was good. Hallstrom did a good job with this one, it's definitely worth a watch or two.
What do you think of What's Eating Gilbert Grape
Share your opinions on our forum