Movies From the Hat 7 – #4 – Ghezal’s Pick – What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? (1993)

This is my 3949th Review

Thanks to Ghezal of Ghezal Plus Movies for this recommendation.

She chose that I review a film by cinematographer Jeff Cronenweth who was first assistant Camera on this film.

“I’m having a birthday party, but you’re not invited, but you can come if you want. ” – Arnie

Number of Times Seen – 1 (10 Apr 2018)

Brief Synopsis – A young man must look after his younger brother and homebound mother after their father abandons them.

My Take on it – This is a film that I actually am shocked at by the fact that I never saw it in its entirety beforehand.

I’ve heard about it, but never really knew what it was about and for some reason kept confusing it in my mind with Benny & Joon (1993) which also starred Depp that same year.

The cast of this film is amazing and this is one of Johnny Depp’s best early performances.

He is helped by Mary Steenburgen, Juliette Lewis and Darlene Cates who encompass three prominent women in his ever changing life.

The film tho is wholly the show of a very young Leonardo DiCaprio who showed how great an actor he could be even at that young age.

He steals every scene he is in as a young retarded teenager who Depp’s character must always look after.

He deservingly was nominated for his very first Oscar for this role.

This film does a great job showing us how complex a life Gilbert has and how he must slowly start to realize that besides caring for others, he must find a way to start caring for himself too.

This story is told so well and we get a clear picture of life in a small town where just about everyone knows one another and life tries to stay the same despite the fact that the world progresses along.

Bottom Line – Such a great film that I’m surprised that I had never seen in full beforehand. The cast is amazing with Depp, Lewis, Steenburgen, and Cates giving great performances. Dicaprio tho stands out as young Arnie and it’s not surprising that he was nominated for an Oscar for this role.  Loved the way that they present the complex life of Gilbert and allow us to understand the changes that he feels he must make in order to care about himself instead of just others. Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – Leonardo DiCaprio played the part of Arnie Grape so well, that when he showed up for the film’s premiere, many people were shocked and astonished to learn that the young actor was not actually mentally disabled. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (9/10)


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6 thoughts on “Movies From the Hat 7 – #4 – Ghezal’s Pick – What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? (1993)

  1. Agree on Leo. A stunning prformnce. I know he had done some TV prior to this movie but I’d never seen him. I also thought they had hired a real mentally challenged person to play Depp’s brother. After all, Darlene Cates, hired to play their obese mother – had never acted before – and she was very good as well. Not until the scene where he climbs the tower did I realize they wouldn’t put him in danger like that – which made his ACTING performance even more incredible. I have always felt since that he should have WON the Oscar for this role. And in his category in 1993 – the competition was fierce. Tommy Lee Jones, very good, won. But Fiennes was excellent in Schindler and Malkovich was a spectacular villain in In The Line of Fire. I still think Leo was the most impressive – but I think his youth worked against him in amongst these veteran actors.


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