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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars You want to know what's eating him...?, April 3, 2007
This review is from: What's Eating Gilbert Grape (DVD)
He's got a mother that weighs 400 pounds, or maybe it's 600. There's a married woman who can't keep her hands off of him whose husband would like to kill him. He's got a younger brother that is cuckoo, and he's responsible for him. He's got to take care of him. He works in a grocery store. His life is about groceries. Honk if you've got groceries...

He's trapped in Endora, somewhere, probably Kansas or Nebraska or Iowa (actually filmed in Texas), somewhere in the heart of the Heartland--by the way this is the sort of American film that plays as a foreign film in, say, France or Sweden. Along comes Juliette Lewis who's a bit of a short-haired punk to his long-haired country ("Get in the car, longhair"). He is wallowing in self-pity and she sees it. "What about you?" she asks. "What do you want?"

She attracts him and frightens him. She may make him upset his predictable life as Job. And then one day, he loses it and hits Arnie, and hits him again. Who can blame him? But you don't hurt Arnie. He is just a boy who will always be a boy.

Johnny Depp is Gilbert Grape, Leonardo DiCaprio is Arnie, Mary Steenburgen is the married woman, Juliette Lewis is Becky and Darlene Cates is Mama. They all give sterling performances. The script and direction are flawless. You've probably seen bits and pieces of this movie on TV. See the whole thing. It is an outstanding flick. Gilbert is an America hero. He knows the good and the bad, and he always tries to do the good. But it's tough. Life is an embarrassment and a boredom, and when it isn't boring, it's scary emotionally. Depp is perfectly cast as a man whose loyalty to his family and his love for them has trapped him. And they are using him, and they don't appreciate him. His father disappeared. His older brother is gone. Gilbert has the responsibility. And he knows it. And he can't escape it.

But it's hard, and when Becky comes along, she is something different. She is something he's never seen before. She isn't predictable, and she is striking. And she is smart and sensitive, like him.

Don't answer the phone. Don't answer the door. This is a heartland masterpiece about real people living real lives, and director Lasse Halstrom (The Cider House Rules (1999) Chocolat (2000) after many Swedish films) doesn't flinch and he doesn't do cliches, and he gets it right. You will be moved.

But see this for Johnny Depp and see why women love him.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Nov 3, 2007 2:48:00 PM PDT
WMorrisLives says:
''He's got a younger brother that is cuckoo...'' ''his father disappeared...''

Two corrections: his younger brother is mentally retarded and his father committed suicide.

Posted on Sep 4, 2008 2:46:44 AM PDT
Kat1979 says:
She's 500 pounds. http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0146055/bio
Although I would have assumed a little more.
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