What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)

Directed by Lasse Hallström.
Starring Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Juliette Lewis, Darlene Cates, Laura Harrington, Mary Kate Schellhardt, Mary Steenburgen and John C. Reilly.
118 Minutes – Rated PG-13

Gilbert Grape is forced to carry the load after his father’s death. He takes care of his special needs brother (who could go at any time), morbidly obese / agoraphobic mother and two younger sisters. But, when he falls for a girl with a life he envies, he is forced to make a choice between those he cares for and himself.

While far from perfect, there is an odd beauty to this story of a family that deeply loves each other but are trapped by each other nonetheless. Fans of Depp might expect him to drip with his usual charisma but he plays Gilbert is a quiet, subdued way. Instead it’s Dicaprio and the unknown Cates who deliver the strongest, most memorable performances.

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape doesn’t shine, it shimmers.

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