#4 ~ What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?
This film was my first introduction to Leonardo DiCaprio, and I became an instant fan. His portrayal of Arnie Grape, a mentally challenged boy being raised by his obese and severely depressed mother was remarkable. Johnny Depp, who is also fantastic in his role, plays Gilbert Grape, Dicaprio’s older brother, who has taken over and a caretaker for his brother. The film focuses on Gilbert’s frustration with his life and his circumstances, and feels trapped as he knows he has to take care of his brother or he will be put in a home, as his mother certainly can not care for him. The relationship between the two brothers is what makes the film, as you can feel the enduring love Gilbert has for his brother, yet wants so badly to do something with his life. Arnie, on the other hand loves his brother, but has no concept of what his brother is sacrificing.
Juliette Lewis also stars in this film as a tourist that gets stranded in town with her grandmother when their travel trailer breaks down, and she becomes involved with Gilbert, and he begins to fall in love. I think this is one of her best performances. I love this film and all it’s quirkiness, and its realism. Definitely one of my favorites.