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What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

Title: What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
Directed by:
Lasse Hallström
Written by:
Peter Hedges
Year: 1998

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape is one of those films which somehow manages to combine absolute tragedy with absolute beauty. The story circles around Gilbert Grape (Johnny Depp) and his mentally handicapped brother Arnie (Leonardo DiCaprio). Both roles are excellently performed, which is a prerequisite for a film like this.

The beauty lies in the love and friendship between the two brothers. I do not know how close this is to reality, but their relationship seems to be something like that of an adult to a beloved child, with the important exception that the child never matures. Herein lies the tragedy, because even though Gilbert is stoical about his brother most of the time, he is also a young human being with limitations. The family at large is at times dysfunctional and life is certainly not easy. When he falls in love with a young woman called Becky, his troublesome family life threatens to be an obstacle.

As I have already stated, this is a film of opposites which blend together to make something fantastic. However, the story and setting in themselves do not attract my interest very much, so even if I think that the film is close to perfect in its genre, I cannot give it more than four snails. If you happen to be less snobbish about setting and genre, I can guarantee that you will like this film ever more than I did.

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