This Movie is Rated PG13 – For Elements of Mature Subject Matter
If I remember correctly, this is the first movie that I saw Johnny Depp in. I had seen him in 21 Jumpstreet but only really remembered him as a pretty face. This movie showed me that he could really act. His portrayal of Gilbert Grape is so heart-felt and moving.
Playing Gilbert’s mentally impaired younger brother Arnie, is Leonardo DiCaprio. He did an outstanding job. I can see why he was nominated for an Oscar for this role. His body language, mannerisms and way of speaking are all perfect for the role he is playing.
Due to Gilbert’s mother being housebound (she hasn’t left the house in over 7 years) and his father being dead, it falls on Gilbert to be the main caretaker of Arnie. On top of that he has to work to help support the family. Arnie and Gilbert are together almost constantly. Gilbert is very patient with Arnie and very protective of him. Johnny and Leonardo’s interactions with each other are just amazing. You feel like they are a real family.
I really feel for Gilbert. His whole life revolves around taking care of other people and putting their interests first. He doesn’t have a life of his own. Although, he loves his family you can tell he feels trapped, with no way out of his situation. When Becky (Juliette Lewis) arrives in town, Gilbert starts to learn that there can be more to his life.
Memorable Moments (without giving too much away):
Gilbert giving Arnie piggyback rides, even though he is almost as big as he is.
Gilbert talking Arnie down from the water tower with a silly saying that Arnie likes (using a bullhorn, in front of a whole crowd of people). Totally made me fall in love with Gilbert.
Gilbert’s friend, Tucker, going on and on about the new Burger Barn that is coming to town (obviously a small town in the middle of nowhere if that is the hot topic of conversation).
Becky asking Gilbert what he wants in life and he only names things he wants for other people.
Following is additional information about the movie that contains spoilers. If you don’t want to be spoiled don’t read any further.
I get so frustrated with Gilbert’s family. They really don’t appreciate all he does for them and how he has basically given up his own life to take care of Arnie. I really want to sit them down and set them straight.
Gilbert finding Arnie still in the bathtub the next morning was so sad. It was like he was being punished for putting himself first for once.
I was so shocked when Gilbert snapped and hit Arnie. Although, I can understand why it happened; I so didn’t see it coming.
Loved Mama calling Gilbert her “Knight in Shimmering Armor”. It was the first sign that she really knows all he does.
Burning down the house was so symbolic. Like a phoenix rising out of the ashes to start a new life.