What's Eating Gilbert Grape

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
What's Eating Gilbert Grape
Whats eating gilbert grape poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Lasse Hallström
Produced by David Matalon
Bertil Ohlsson
Meir Teper
Written by Peter Hedges
Starring Johnny Depp
Juliette Lewis
Mary Steenburgen
Leonardo DiCaprio
John C. Reilly
Darlene Cates
Music by Alan Parker
Björn Isfält
Cinematography Sven Nykvist
Edited by Andrew Mondshein
Distributed by Paramount Pictures (United States)
J&M Entertainment (International)
Release dates
  • December 17, 1993 (1993-12-17)
Running time 118 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $11 million (est)[1]
Box office $10,032,765[2]

What's Eating Gilbert Grape is a 1993 American comedy-drama film directed by Lasse Hallström and starring Johnny Depp, Juliette Lewis, Darlene Cates, and Leonardo DiCaprio. Peter Hedges wrote the screenplay, adapted from his 1991 novel of the same name.

Plot[edit]

In the small town of Endora, Iowa, Gilbert Grape (Johnny Depp) is busy caring for Arnie (Leonardo DiCaprio), his brother with a developmental disability, as they wait for the many tourists' trailers to pass through town during their "yearly ritual" of camping at a nearby recreational area. His morbidly obese mother, Bonnie (Darlene Cates) gave up on life after her husband hung himself seventeen years earlier. She spends almost all of her time on the couch watching television. With Bonnie unable to care for her children on her own, Gilbert has taken responsibility for repairing the old house and looking after Arnie, who has a habit of climbing the town water tower, while his sisters Amy and Ellen do the rest. The relationship between the brothers is of both care and protection, as Gilbert continually enforces the 'nobody touches Arnie' policy. A new "Foodland" supermarket has opened, threatening the small Lamson's Grocery where Gilbert works. In addition, Gilbert is having an affair with a married woman, Betty Carver (Mary Steenburgen).

The family is looking forward to Arnie's 18th birthday. A young woman named Becky (Juliette Lewis) and her grandmother are stuck in town when their car pulling an Airstream trailer breaks down. Gilbert's unusual life circumstances threaten to get in the way of their budding romance. In order to spend time with Becky watching the sunset, Gilbert leaves Arnie alone in the bath. He returns home late and wakes up the following morning to find Arnie still in the bath, shivering in the now cold water; his guilt is compounded by his family's anger. His affair with Mrs Carver ends when she leaves town in search of a new life following her husband's death — he drowned in the paddling pool after suffering a heart attack. Becky becomes close to both Gilbert and Arnie and as she talks to Gilbert she begins to unlock some buried hopes, dreams and happiness. During one of their talks they are distracted from Arnie who returns to the water tower he is forever trying to climb. Arnie is arrested after being rescued from the top of the tower, causing his mother — who has not left the house in seven years — to become the object of pointing, laughing and gawking from the townspeople as she goes to the police station, forcing Arnie's release.

Soon after, Arnie tries to run away yet again from his bath and in his frustration Gilbert finally snaps, hitting Arnie several times. Guilty and appalled at himself, Gilbert takes the car and runs out without another word. Arnie also runs out and goes to Becky's, who takes care of him for the evening before he is picked up by his sisters. After some soul searching aided by Becky, Gilbert returns home during the birthday party to make amends to his family for running out and to be forgiven by Arnie which, with only the slightest hesitation, he is. He apologizes to his mother for his behavior and promises that he is not ashamed of her and that he will not let her be hurt anymore. He introduces her to Becky — something he has been reluctant to do earlier.

Following Arnie's 18th birthday party, Bonnie climbs the stairs to her bedroom for the first time since her husband's suicide. Arnie later tries to wake her but discovers she has died. The children, not willing to let their mother become the joke of the town by having her corpse lifted from the house by crane, empty their family home of possessions and set it on fire. A year later, Gilbert describes what happens to his family after his mother's death, as Gilbert and his brother Arnie wait by the side of a road for Becky.

Cast[edit]

Filming Locations[edit]

Manor, Texas; Lockhart, Texas; Elgin, Texas; Austin, Texas; Denton, Texas[3] Pflugerville, Texas;[4]

Release[edit]

The film had a limited release on December 17, 1993 and wide release on March 4, 1994.[5] The wide release garnered $2,104,938 on first weekend. Total domestic gross for the film was $10,032,765.[6]

Critical reception and awards[edit]

The film received positive reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, the film was given an 89% "Certified Fresh" rating.[7] New York Times film critic Janet Maslin praised DiCaprio's performance, writing "the film's real show-stopping turn comes from Mr. DiCaprio, who makes Arnie's many tics so startling and vivid that at first he is difficult to watch.... The performance has a sharp, desperate intensity from beginning to end."[8] Roger Ebert of Chicago Sun-Times described it as "... one of the most enchanting films of the year" and said that DiCaprio deserved to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for which he was nominated.[9] Todd McCarthy of Variety found the film a "bemused view on life" and remarked that "Depp manages to command center screen with a greatly affable, appealing characterization."[10] Washington Post's Desson Howe thought the film was an earnest but highly predictable effort.[11] Film Review praised Leonardo DiCaprio as the mentally handicapped brother, calling it "a performance of astonishing innocence and spontaneity", bringing "a touching credibility to a very difficult part".[12] Film Review quoted the actor:

I had to really research and get into the mind of somebody with a disability like that. So I spent a few days at a home for mentally retarded teens. We just talked and I watched their mannerisms. People have these expectations that mentally retarded children are really crazy, but it's not so. It's refreshing to see them because everything's so new to them.[12]

In addition to DiCaprio's first Academy Award nomination in this film, he was nominated for a Golden Globe Award. He also won the Best Supporting Actor Award from the National Board of Review. The film was nominated for the prestigious Grand Prix of the Belgian Syndicate of Cinema Critics.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "What's Eating Gilbert Grape - Box Office Data". The Numbers. Retrieved 2011-07-28. 
  2. ^ "What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2011-07-23. 
  3. ^ "What's Eating Gilbert Grape". IMDb. 
  4. ^ http://www.pflugervilletx.gov/index.aspx?nid=1495
  5. ^ "What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993) - Weekend Box Office Results". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  6. ^ "What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  7. ^ "What's Eating Gilbert Grape Movie Reviews, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  8. ^ Maslin, Janet (1993-12-17). "Movie Review: What's Eating Gilbert Grape". New York Times. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  9. ^ Ebert, Roger (1994-03-04). "What's Eating Gilbert Grape". rogerebert.com. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  10. ^ McCarthy, Todd (1993-12-06). "What's Eating Gilbert Grape Review". Variety. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  11. ^ Howe, Desson (1994-03-04). "What’s Eating Gilbert Grape". Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-12-30. 
  12. ^ a b Cameron-Wilson, James; Speed, F. Maurice (1994). Film Review 1994-5. Great Britain: Virgin Books. p. 148. ISBN 0-86369-842-5{{inconsistent citations}} 

External links[edit]