Life is a terrible thing to sleep through, but only if your not this guy.
In a backwater Iowa town, Gilbert (Johnny Depp) struggles to take care of his mentally disabled brother, Arnie (Leonardo DiCaprio), and provide for the rest of his family. But after falling for the stranded Becky (Juliette Lewis), Gilbert discovers exciting new possibilities for his life.
The film is surely a film about a very odd looking family, and the things that happen I found very hard to watch. This is a better film than any other of those great piece of life stories that I have ever seen.
This story is based on a 1991 novel by Peter Hedges ,who also wrote the screenplay, and he and director Lasse Hallström create very memorable characters and spin them in ways so that you know about these people very well and care about them very well when the film is over. I felt myself very attached to these characters and they all gained my sympathy very quick, and anything bad that happened to these characters I felt totally effected by.
The story is very strong in showing how the towns people think of the Grapes as a weird family with a fat mom and a mentally challenged son, and you see how Gilbert tries to keep it all together. He soon falls in love with a girl but he doesn’t know if he can love her as she loves him due to the problem’s with his family. Very strong and compelling story.
Only problem I had with this film was that they just didn’t give Gilbert to express his feelings enough. He’s very quiet when his family bosses him around and you always see he is upset but you never see it come out. I think if it came out then this film would’ve looked to be more strong and very true as sometimes we can’t always hold our anger in.
Performances are also something very notable in this film. A young Leonardo DiCaprio does an amazing job at playing Gilbert’s mentally challenged brother, and he masters the acts and tics this character has without over doing it. He doesn’t get too annoying and your soul goes out to him. Also Depp and Lewis have a very good chemistry in this film that is awkward at first but soon comes out as genuine.
Consensus: Gilbert Grape is touching, true, and the most enchanting film I have seen in years. It gives me a new sense of feeling of life and connects me to all the characters within the film.