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What’s Eating Gilbert Grape Summary: A Brief Overview

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Are you a movie buff who loves exploring different genres? If so, you might have heard about the movie "What's Eating Gilbert Grape?" The film has been around for quite some time now and has become a classic in its own right. However, if you're someone who hasn't watched the movie yet or is curious to know more about it, this article is just what you need!

"What's Eating Gilbert Grape" summary is something that many people search on the internet these days. This coming-of-age drama follows a young boy named Gilbert Grape (played by Johnny Depp) as he navigates his life in a small town in Iowa. Life isn't easy for him as he takes care of his mentally challenged brother Arnie (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) and works at a local grocery store to support his family after their father passed away.

But there's more to this story than meets the eye! In this article, we'll delve into all aspects of "What's Eating Gilbert Grape." From its plotline to character arcs and everything else related to it – we've got you covered! So sit back, relax and read on because there’s more than meets the eye in “What’s eating Gilber grape?”

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What's Eating Gilbert Grape Summary


"What's Eating Gilbert Grape" is an American drama film based on Peter Hedges' novel of the same name. The movie tells a story of Gilbert Grape, played by Johnny Depp, who lives in Endora – a small town in Iowa with his siblings and obese mother after their father committed suicide by hanging himself when he was just 36 years old.

The movie depicts how Gilbert has to take care of his family members while dealing with personal issues like love life and job dissatisfaction. This article provides a detailed summary of "What's Eating Gilbert Grape."


Gilbert works as a clerk at Lamson’s Grocery Store – one of the most significant businesses in town owned by Mr Lamson (played by Darlene Cates). His job involves stocking shelves and delivering groceries to customers' homes.

Gilbert's life revolves around taking care of Arnie (played by Leonardo DiCaprio), his mentally challenged younger brother who keeps running away from home every time something upsets him. Bonnie (played beautifully by Darlene Cates) is their mother who weighs over 500 pounds due to depression after her husband's death.

One day Becky (played perfectly well by Juliette Lewis) comes into town for her grandmother’s birthday celebration where she meets Gilbert at Lamson’s grocery store, starting an unconventional relationship between them.

Arnie turns eighteen; this means he needs constant attention because his condition worsens as he ages. Meanwhile, Bonnie dies due to health complications resulting from obesity which prompts both women from other towns come for her funeral only then did we realize how severe it had gotten with society ignoring them all these years.

After Bonnie dies Gilber decides its time they leave Endora but Arnie starts climbing the water tower which he was very fascinated about, Gilbert comes to calm him down and later on Arnie ends up being taken away by the authorities who had been looking for him since he ran away from home.


The film tackles several themes; some are evident while others may not be. Here are some of the primary themes in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape."

Family Struggles

The film portrays how families can struggle when faced with challenging situations such as mental illness, obesity or poverty. The characters have to pull together and support one another through thick and thin.

Love & Relationships

"What's Eating Gilbert Grape" also explores unconventional relationships such as Becky’s affair with Gilbert despite their age difference.

Small-Town Dynamics

Endora is a small town where everyone knows each other which means that people tend to judge one another harshly based on their social status or family background.


"What's Eating Gilbert Grape" has an impressive cast, all played their roles exceedingly well making it worth watching repeatedly:

  • Johnny Depp (Gilbert Grape)
  • Leonardo DiCaprio (Arnie)
  • Darlene Cates (Bonnie)
  • Juliette Lewis (Becky)


In summary, "What’s eating gilbert grape summary,” is a movie set in Endora – a small town in Iowa that depicts family struggles amidst personal issues like love life and job dissatisfaction. The film portrays how families can struggle when faced with challenging situations such as mental illness or obesity while exploring unconventional relationships such as Becky’s affair with Gilber despite their age difference.
Darlene Cates' performance of Bonnie deserves special recognition; her portrayal of depression resulting from her husband's suicide will send shivers down any viewers' spine.
Leonardo DiCaprio played his role so convincingly that many thought he was actually mentally challenged! Overall this movie is definitely worth watching if you haven't seen it yet- especially if you enjoy slice-of-life dramas that are grounded in reality.


of a movie critic or enthusiast.

What is "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" about?

"What's Eating Gilbert Grape" is a 1993 drama film directed by Lasse Hallström and stars Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Juliette Lewis. The film revolves around the life of Gilbert Grape, a young man living in a small town with his dysfunctional family. With responsibilities that fall on his shoulders due to his father having passed away and mother who has become morbidly obese since then; he finds himself struggling to find balance between caring for his family members while keeping up with the demands of everyday life.

The arrival of Becky (played by Juliette Lewis), an adventurous girl from out-of-town proves to be a turning point in Gilbert’s life. While dealing with complex issues such as familial responsibility, self-discovery and love; the story provides viewers with an intimate look into human psyche – exploring themes such as mental health issues, societal expectations, and personal growth.

Who plays what character in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape"?

The cast includes some of Hollywood’s biggest names: Johnny Depp essays the role of protagonist -Gilbert- brilliantly. His younger brother Arnie – played by Leonardo DiCaprio- portrays someone who struggles with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Meanwhile Darlene Cates plays Momma Bonnie-Grape displaying powerful acting skills despite being relatively new to cinema at that time.
Juliette Lewis’ portrayal as Becky brings depth & charm into this drama while also adding a layer mystery given her past which unfolds slowly throughout the narrative.
John C Reilly makes brief appearance early-on but still manages leave an undeniable impression on audience through limited screen-time thanks largely due how well-developed characters are within this world created around them!

What are some important scenes or moments from "What's Eating Gilbert Grape"?

There are several key moments throughout “What’s eating Gilert grape” that have left lasting impressions on viewers – both emotionally and mentally.

One of the most iconic scenes is when Gilbert and Arnie are climbing up a water tower, Arnie is struggling to climb; but with an unrelenting effort from his brother Gilbert, they make it to the top. This scene portrays the strength of their bond despite all odds stacked against them.
Another pivotal moment in this film comes towards its end where Gilbert finally realizes how much he has neglected himself while caring for everyone else. It’s a powerful realization that leaves audience feeling sympathetic towards him while also giving insight into how easy it can be lose sight of our personal needs.
The final scene sees Momma Bonnie-Grape passing away peacefully surrounded by her family members who have grown with her even amidst great difficulties over time- making this ending one filled with both sorrow & hopefulness.

What themes are explored in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape"?

“What’s eating Gilbert grape” explores several important themes such as family dynamics, self-discovery, mental health issues and societal expectations amongst others.

At its core lies a story about familial responsibility – exploring relationships between siblings and parent-child dynamics which many viewers can relate to personally. The film also touches upon issues such as ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder) through Leonardo DiCaprio’s portrayal of Arnie- portraying nuanced depiction someone struggling cope everyday life due personality traits associated with condition without exaggerating or trivializing difficulties faced by those diagnosed themselves.

Mental health is another prominent theme throughout “What's Eating Gilert Grape”. The characterisation around Momma Bonnie-grape shows audiences challenges faced individuals who struggle deal emotions effectively within society context; especially when dealing loss or lifestyle changes which may heavily impact sense control over one’s own environment thereby leading downstream effects on mental well-being .
Ultimately though at heart what makes director Lasse Hallström so successful here lies how these themes intertwine within story itself creating complex layers characters exploring multiple angles- resulting in an immersive viewing experience which resonates with viewers long after credits have rolled.

How is "What's Eating Gilbert Grape" received by audiences and critics?

“What’s eating Gilbert grape” has been well received by both audiences and critics alike since its release. The film was nominated for various awards including Academy Awards, Golden Globes and Screen Actors Guild Awards – winning many as well!

The performances of all actors, especially Johnny Depp & Leonardo DiCaprio were praised for their nuanced depictions of complex characters. Critics also appreciated the strong direction provided Lasse Hallström who managed create such an immersive world within small-town setting while still maintaining certain level authenticity required tell this story effectively.
With today’s audience craving emotional depth in cinema more than ever before it's no surprise that “What's eating Gilbert grape” continues to find new fans through streaming services; proving timeless appeal drama that digs deeper into complexities human psyche making it a must-watch classic even today!


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