7.8/10
205,426
339 user 88 critic

What's Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)

PG-13 | | Drama | 4 March 1994 (USA)
A young man in a small Midwestern town struggles to care for his mentally-disabled younger brother and morbidly obese mother while attempting to pursue his own happiness.

Director:

Lasse Hallström

Writers:

Peter Hedges (novel), Peter Hedges (screenplay)
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Popularity
1,000 ( 31)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Johnny Depp ... Gilbert Grape
Leonardo DiCaprio ... Arnie Grape
Juliette Lewis ... Becky
Mary Steenburgen ... Betty Carver
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 Penelope Branning ... Becky's Grandma
Tim Green Tim Green ... Mr. Lamson
Susan Loughran Susan Loughran ... Mrs. Lamson
Robert B. Hedges Robert B. Hedges ... Minister (as Rev. Robert B. Hedges)
Mark Jordan Mark Jordan ... Todd Carver
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Storyline

What's Eating Gibert Grape is a beautifully shot movie of tenderness, caring and self-awareness that is set amongst the fictional working class one street town Endora. Centred around the Grape family Ellen and Amy and their two brothers Arnie and Gilbert, who, along with their morbidly obese widowed mother Bonnie Grape are striving to survive and coexist with the absence of a father figure, low wage work and seventeen-year-old Arnie's severe mental condition. It is in this awkward and extremely one sided affair that the unfortunate Gilbert has to constantly, while working for the town's slowly dying convenience store, take care of his younger brother Arnie. Gilbert's life, his future, is thwarted he knows this, but it is in this guardian angel that his love and bond for Arnie cannot, and will not, be let go. That is until the free spirit of Becky arrives in town, and with her grandmother are stranded for the week while waiting for parts for their vehicle. This realization unties new ... Written by Cinema_Fan

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Life is a terrible thing to sleep through. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for elements of mature subject matter | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

4 March 1994 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

What's Eating Gilbert Grape See more »

Filming Locations:

Georgetown, Texas, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$11,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$74,421, 19 December 1993

Gross USA:

$10,032,765

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$10,032,765
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby | Dolby SR

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

During the scene where Darlene Cates (Momma) climbed the staircase, she climbed only the first two or three steps. This footage was reused to show her climbing the entire staircase. The room that served as her upstairs bedroom was actually a downstairs room. See more »

Goofs

When the family go to find Arnie (after Gilbert hit him) they are at Becky's trailer. It is clearly very dark when they set out to find Arnie. In all the shots of Gilbert, the sky is dark, but in the shots of Arnie/Becky the sky is light as though it is dawn. See more »

Quotes

Becky: I love the sky. It's so limitless.
Gilbert: It is big. It's very big.
Becky: Big doesn't even sum it up, right? That word big is so small.
See more »

Connections

Referenced in The PJs: What's Eating Juicy Hudson (2000) See more »

Soundtracks

This Magic Moment
by Doc Pomus and Mort Shuman
Performed by The Manor High School Marching Band
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more »

User Reviews

 
Very well-done
13 July 2004 | by IdolprincessSee all my reviews

I thought I wouldn't like this. I decided to see it because I'm a fan of Johnny Depp who appeared in some of my favorite movies [ Edward Scissorhands, Benny and Joon, etc. ] I knew what the plot was: a guy who lives with his 15 year old sister, his 18 year old mentally disabled brother who could die at any time and his morbidly obese mother always has to do everything for his family and something happens that changes his life. It sounded like it was a typical sappy drama. I usually hate dramas like that. Movies in which the only point is to feel bad for the characters. But this one was quite different.

The plot in this movie is unclear, which makes it appealing in my opinion. There isn't a lot of events in the movie, really. It all revolves around Arnie's birthday and Gilbert's meeting with the new girl. The movie is very slow paced and doesn't rely on action and shock to catch his viewer's attentions. It's moving, but the dialogues are also very simple. You might expect this movie to be over-dramatic but it's everything but that. The situation and story are extremely sad, but I never felt overwhelmed by this. Keep in mind that I can't usually handle dramas very well.

The movie is about partly about Gilbert, but it also describes life in this town very well. Gilbert's family often has a big impact on the other people in this town, so it's natural that they would be the family that the movie is about. What's also really nice is that Gilbert isn't portrayed as a hero in this movie. He has flaws, and he can make mistakes even if he's taking care of everyone. He is not the typical good-hearted young adult or teenager who's taking care of everyone and wants to give everything for his family. He actually has feelings of his own and he is trying to find himself. The whole movie is about his quest to find who he really is, if he isn't Gilbert Grape, the guy who's always running after his brother Arnie.

Another good point about this movie is the way it was filmed. The visuals are great and the way the movie was made makes us feel like we're seeing life in a different way than usual.


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