What's Eating Gilbert Grape [VHS]
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Product Description

This is the movie that Leonardo DiCaprio received an Oscar nomination for, five years before Titanic. And, in fact, this is the movie that should have made him a star, he's so good in it. Based on the novel by Peter Hedges (who adapted his own book) and directed by Lasse Hallstr?m (My Life as a Dog), this is the funny, moody tale of a young man named Gilbert Grape (Johnny Depp) who lives at home in a small town with his 500-pound Momma (beautifully played by nonpro Darlene Cates), his mentally retarded younger brother Arnie (DiCaprio, utterly convincing), and his sisters. Not a lot happens--Arnie keeps climbing a water tower and getting stuck; Gilbert is involved with a married woman (Mary Steenburgen), then meets a nice new girl in town who's closer to his age (Juliette Lewis). And that's exactly what makes this movie so much more than your run-of-the-mill Hollywood product: it's not about some mechanical, formulaic plot; it's about these characters, and it allows you to spend some time with them and get to know them. Depp may have started out as a TV teen idol on 21 Jump Street, but his feature film choices since then--in such wonderfully offbeat and diverse movies as Cry-Baby, Edward Scissorhands, Benny & Joon, Donnie Brasco--have made him one of the most interesting, unpredictable, and risk-taking young actors in American movies. --Jim Emerson

Customer Reviews:

  • perfect shape, quick delivery am very satisfied
    I am very happy with my purchase. It arrived on time and in wonderful condition....more info
  • What's eating Gilbert Grape?
    One of Johnny Depp's best. Leonardo DeCaprio in what be his first film does a great job portraying the retarded younger brother. He did it without being offensive or stereotyping the role. I enjoyed it and my seller had it delivered sooner than promised. ...more info
  • Never go full retard
    Nobody gets eaten in this movie?!

    I watched this with my wife, waiting for some cannibals to chow down on Gilbert Grape. No such luck. No gore whatsoever? No murders, explosions, car chases, or wild stunts either.
    This is a nice slice of Americana. Movies rarely do half as well at giving a glimpse at real life in America.

    Depp does an excellent job in a James Dean type role--the charismatic, brooding young flyboy that is stuck in a little one horse town. He takes care of his half-retarded brother, played with natural precision by Leonardo DiCaprio. Juliette Lewis tones down her dysfunctional persona and turns in a stellar performance as the girlfriend.

    This movie has no real plot, the family just prepares for the son's big 18th birthday party. I had almost forgotten what a normal, coming of age movie was like. Surprisingly, I actually enjoyed it....more info
  • Johnny Depp Movie Lover
    This movie touched close to home. I lived in similar circumstrances. Gilbert took good care of his mother who had lost her zest for life she loved her children but the load she put on them was too much and she knew this. Leonardo Di Caprio was stunning as the mentally impaired Arnie. Gilbert wanted much more in his life but his helpless family had to come first.His working at the small store in the town brings some fun with delivering to a married housewife. But it is not really what he wants. When he meets Juliette Lewis he finally can see and tell what his life should be. Juliette "Becky" is a free spirt and travels around with her grandmother in a trailer she shows Gilbert what life can be. The ending of the movie is great.Gilbert gets what he wants and takes Arnie with him.The others are taken care of as you will see if you watch this great movie. It shows true love, devotion and understanding. As I say in all my reviews if the movie has Johnny Depp you can't go wrong....more info
  • Gilbert Grape's Mother
    To add to the reviews already written, I would like to focus on the character of Gilbert Grape's mother. However, unlike most of the other reviews here, my comments are critical of this film.

    Johnny Depp plays the middle son in a dysfunctional small town North American Family. The elder son is at college, the younger son is mentally disabled (two sisters are also presnet, though merely as additional signs of a `problem family'), and we find out that the father hanged himself some years before. But Gilbert's greatest resentment is towards his mother. She is very fat, becoming so after her husband's death, and has not left the house since. She is so fat that she has (apparently) impaired the foundations of the house and the scene reflecting this is noteworthy, because it is only when Mom stands up and stamps her foot in anger that Depp's character realises that the house in unstable. Mom's anger becomes physically too much for the house.

    The character of Mom functions as a spectacle in this film. Depp allows small boys to come and peep at her watching television. People stare at her when she ventures out of the house to collect her younger son from the sheriff's office. When Depp meets the Juliette Lewis character, he initially refuses to let her meet Mom. When they do finally meet, Mom is mortified and attempts to explain away her size to Lewis "I wasn't always like this". Lewis, who repeats pretty much the same phrase, standing with Depp looking down on Mom in her chair, is portrayed as gracious and kind, yet this scene evokes an uneasy realisation that this intercourse is not between three equal human beings. Mom is presented entirely as lacking. And though Depp's character does achieve some level of peace with Mom, the events that follow are shocking in what they represent (though, given Western culture`s obsessions around fatness and thinness, hardly surprising.)

    Mom goes up to bed for the first time in years, and dies. After the authorities inform the family that Mom's corpse will have to be lifted from the house by Crane Gilbert, terrified of the humiliation this will bring, he says, to her, undertakes with his siblings to burn the house with Mom inside.

    The end of the film shows Depp and his younger brother (the sisters despatched somewhere else) waiting for Lewis to come and take them away in her camper van. What is interesting here is that a male character, Gilbert's brother (Leo DiCaprio, Oscar-nominated for this role), young impetuous, mentally disabled and often a danger to himself, is allowed to survive and make demands on Depp's character, even while the film-maker kills off the mother.

    What does Mom represent? I believe a number of anxieties: various excesses of U.S. culture; `dysfunctional' families and the demands they make on individuals; fear of women, terrifyingly erotic (Dicaprio's character is very attached physically to him mother) but also seen as `too much'; fear of difference. Her death is a not too subtle plot device to destroy the source of such anxieties. The presentation of Mom's predicament (apart from Gilbert) as something she might have overcome, maybe by losing some of her weight, ore merely by confronting her own traumas and overcoming them, just could not have been achieved in this film. Mom was never meant to be a person, a subject: she could only function as a spectacle, an object of the audience's gaze.

    So, for some people in the audience at least, this movie is not warm, or profound. It is certainly not `feel- good,' and there is an ever present tone of contempt for those families who, through events beyond their control, find themselves in predicaments of ill health, bereavement, poverty, and social exclusion. There is also a gender hierarchy underlying the film's message. This is a very uncomfortable film to watch, and not because it is at all 'challenging': indeed it challenges nothing.

    I will say this though. While watching this film, even while feeling anger at the engineered death of Mom's character, I found humour in that plot, and in the idea of the house's foundations being at risk: not because I found Mom's problems amusing in a futile attempt to distance myself from her (that is, an attempt to resolve any feelings of incongruity): but because I recognised the scenes merely reflected the predictable, transparent and rather absurd fixations of the film maker. I was laughing at the film-maker, not Mom.

    ...more info
  • The Collector's Edition of What's Eating Gilbert Grape is certainly worth buying
    I debated on whether to buy this DVD as I already had one of the original Gilbert Grapes I think this one was done in 2006. I am so glad I did it is well worth it. The extra's are great just to hear Johnny talk about it is enough, then you hear from Darlene and Mary. The directors commentary along with Peter Hedgers is really good. I hadn't read the book so hearing the author talking about the book along with the movie is very informative. Neither Lasse nor Peter had seen the movie in years so it was really fun to watch it with them...buy it....more info
  • Grape is a Saint
    This is a film that inspires people of all ages, cultures, and sensibilities.

    Along with "Groundhog Day", personally, this film is one to pull off the shelf when feeling down, and see what caring, giving, placing one's family above one's own wants and needs, ensuring all are as happy as they can be...be who you are, the best you can be though life sometimes never provides the right circumstances, though Gilbert is the person we SHOULD aspire to, because he's virtuous to the point where, the viewer cannot understand why he is so selfless, but hopefully, by the end of the film, will...

    Lasse Hallstr?m, a Swedish filmaker agreed to do the film because of the novel by Peter Hedges who also wrote the screenplay. Together, these two men created a subtle drama where values, to be virtuous, to simply be a good person without realizing it, makes this film simply one of a kind.

    Johnny Depp as Gilbert is superb as the selfless giver, and carer of his mentally disabled brother, played with utter reality by Leonardo de Caprio. At the time, de Caprio was a little boy though received an Oscar nomination that launched this actor into a successful career, which has proved he has the right "stuff" to portray anyone, a natural actor.

    One of the interesting casting stories is that Bonnie, Darelene Cates, `Momma", was not a professional actor, but chosen from the town where the film was shot. (What a beautiful presentation)! Later, particularly when, after not leaving her home for 7 Years, as she is morbidly obese, rescues her little boy from jail; what a performance, and her expressions as she leaves the jail while the crowd look at her as a freak is simply, well, moving.

    Becky (Juliette Lewis) is Gilbert's mentor, revealing that there is a big world out there and he should experience it. Lewis is gorgeous, another natural actor, where this film, again, launched her career as a special talent.

    This film is a subtle masterpiece, a film that shows the goodness of some human beings and the potential to see and experience the beauty of the world.

    A tragedy, satire, comedy, romance and reality all rolled into one.

    An astounding film.
    ...more info
  • Classic
    Gilbert Grape is an all-time classic film. One every person should own, in my opinion.
    ...more info
  • hit a soft spot for me
    i have an autistic family member and a friend's father told me to check this movie out.

    definitely can relate to a lot of things [not as extreme of course but...]. it's a very nice movie. Depp plays it well...nothing on the film deserves a complaint.

    dicaprio is incredible...i really wanted to tell him to shut up because he was so convincing. he was doing a great job....more info
  • Must have
    Gilbert Grape is a wonderful touching story. A must have for Johnny Depp fans. It is a tear jerker but in a very good way with just the right amount of comedy thrown in....more info
  • What's Eating Gilbert Grape
    This is an absolutely fabulous movie. Anyone who enjoys the talent of Johnny Depp will enjoy this movie. Kudos to Lenonardo DiCaprio. What a fantastic job he did. I watch this movie very often. It tells a very good story....more info
  • Gilbert's Great
    I love it. It's a beautiful piece of art. The more I watch it, the more I see in it. Johnny Depp is just wonderful as always, Leonardo is totally mesmerizing and Darlene Cates is just so beautiful. ...more info
  • Disappointment
    Unfortunately the DVD does not work on my machine nor on my computer either. I wasted my money, could not see the film.
    PS. This program forced me to rate the item, otherwise this review would not go through. So I gave it one star when it should have gone with no star at all...more info
  • Depressing but excellent film.
    What's Eating Gilbert Grape starring Johnny Depp and Leonardo DiCaprio is a straight-to-the-point kind of film and I appreciate that. There's no sugar-coating or preaching, just a profound, honest film about a family who is anything but ordinary. DiCaprio is 100% flawless in this tearjerker. Great story and incredible acting, buy this cult classic today!...more info
  • Real, down-to-earth, LIFE
    Our whole family loves this movie and we quote lines from it all the time ("canola oil, it's 'cutting edge'.."...."I haven't always been like this..."some days you want him to live, some days you don't...."..."I'm a BIG BOY now..."). We can always tell if we enjoy a movie enough to make it a "part" of our family by quoting lines from it! I wonder if other people do that?!?!?!

    This movie is one of my absolute favorite! We have a disabled son and can relate completely to the agonies and joys of raising such a special human being (not to mention the extreme toils and sacrifices it requires daily, as the character of Gilbert show us). Leonardo (who plays Arnie) does such a fabulous job of acting the part that it brings me to tears to watch. This movie is so down-to-earth, so REAL LIFE, and the acting is superb. It shows how depressing life can be, but how love and the right kinds of relationships are what bring meaning to life. The movie is meant to show the way people REALLY are, especially small-town people with problems. It is definitely worth the 5-star rating!...more info
  • Titanic
    Have I seen this movie 5 times? I think so, although every time I watch it, it looks as fresh and vital as the first. Today I watched the scene when big mother comes down to the station to pick up her boy. It is a powerful, magnificent scene, riveling in my view the bathroom scene between Burgess Meredith and Sylvester Stallone in "Rocky." Many will praise Johnny Depp, but my eye has always been on young Leo. Depp is pretty and all, so the book makers were obviously right to bet on him, but it is Leo who turns in the great performance. It is incredible. Curiously he hasn't changed all that much. He is THE great talent of his generation, very badly cast in masculine roles that call for boxing and tough guy stuff, for which he is ill suited. He retains to this day his youthful innocence that made him so appealing to the girls in "Titanic." He is no tough guy, though, and always seems weak and ill at ease in Scorsese films. He is a bit like Monty Clift, although many felt that Monty held his own against John Wayne. Come to think of it, Leo may not be the actor Monty was, after all he has done no stage work. Still, he is brilliant on screen as evidenced by this magnificent performance, in a film that should be esteemed a classic. ...more info
  • six stars, seven stars, eight stars
    This is a truly great movie. It is based on an equally great book. The thing to keep in mind about Gilbert's house is, his dad built it. It has a lot of symbolic value. Mr. Grape married the prettiest girl in town, and fathered the kids in the movie, but the house is not stable, and the family is not stable. The family is left to survive in the house his dad built on a careless, wrongly-built foundation. The mother hides inside the house built by the father, who hanged himself. Just like the house is being held together by the inept efforts of young Gilbert, nailing up little pieces of wood down in the basement, so is the family. The book reveals more than the movie that Gilbert's buddy, who helps with the basement, is kind of fixated with Gilbert's mom. Gilbert's buddy, as well as the town's policeman is attracted to her, the image of the prettiest girl in town going to ruin. Poor Gilbert is doing the best he can, and Johnny Depp does a great job portraying the heroic efforts of this better than average young man. DeCaprio is equally great as Depp's younger, mentally handicapped brother, who ties Gilbert to his dying home town, his job at a dying grocery store, and his crumbling house. Notice how Arnie keeps trying to climb? The water tower has a lot of symbolic value, too. This movie is almost too good to be a movie. It has very deep meaning, especially to those of us who have lived the reality of the Grape family's precarious existence. I would give this movie infinite stars. ...more info
  • Excellent Edition**GET IT** See the "greats" before they became so!
    What is now so wonderful about revisiting WHAT'S EATING GILBERT GRAPE after several years, is to see multi nominated Oscar performers Johnny Depp,Leonardo DiCaprio and Juliette Lewis when they were on their road to stardom.WHAT'S EATING GILBERT GRAPE? is one of those incredible ensemble acting pieces that required JUST the right kind of actors.It is interesting to note that Depp,DiCaprio and Lewis have all, at one time, been listed as Hollywood's "most intriguing actors"!.This, to me, lies the greatness and the heart of this touching 1993 look at confused,repressed and quirky people in a dead Texas town called Endora! Take my favorite director Lasse Hallstrom (The Cider House Rules (Miramax Collector's Series),Casanova) and Oscar winning screenplay writer Peter Hedges (About a Boy (Widescreen Edition), and Pieces of April...he always writes, with great tenderness, very conflicted characters!), and VOILA, you have a look back in time when the "great ones" were still yet to reach their pinnacle of success!GILBERT GRAPE has ALL the earmarks of that greatness to come.
    First off, if you have no patience with intimate films that have deliberate character development and no action, you may want to pass.If you relish great acting and a rising action story line, then read on!
    Gilbert is the second son of five on whom his entire family hangs! The oldest son flew the coup, the father committed suicide, the mother is a depressed obese and, the youngest son is a retarded boy who was not supposed to live, and the two sisters seem to have their own issues in life.Gilbert (expertly crafted by Depp) is the model of restraint and co-dependent behaviour as he cares for all of his family.But what is eating at Gilbert? He should be exploding any minute, but his feelings seem so repressed as he runs after his younger brother (DiCaprio- who received an Oscar nom),helps to deal with his Mother's depression and 500 pound+ obesity and also work in a dead end job as a grocery store stock boy.In fact, the only sign that Gilbert has any life in him, is when he delivers groceries to an older and married housewife (Oscar winner Mary Steenburgen,as only she could deliver this performance!)where Gilbert finds himself somewhat entrapped,but afraid to let go.Enter Becky, a passer-through Airstream trailer girl whose rig breaks down in Endora.It is this relationship that awakens Gilbert and the rest of the family to confront all of the repressed and suppressed feelings as a family that somehow functions.Every performance in this film is A+ and should be viewed for the quality of acting and adeptness at direction and screenplay.
    The Special Edition has wonderful interviews with the cast and director that give perspective of people who can now look back at the film and examine it with fresh perspective.One of the best Special Editions on DVD and well worth the $$$....more info
  • Whats eating Gilbert Grape
    i love this movie it just shows how great johnny depp and Leonardo Dicaprio are. they both do a great job so you want to watch it over and over...more info
  • Incredible actors, deeply moving
    First of all I would like to point out that Leonardo did deserve the oscar for this movie long before Titanic was thought about. :) Although both movies were good, this movie was incredibly convincing. This is the first movie I associated with Johnny Depp, and he didnt let me down.

    We have Gilbert, basically stuck in a bad situation, working at a grocery store, having an affair, constantly having to answer for why his mentally ill brother is climbing the water tower or eating the cake in the fridge. If his brother gets in trouble, then his mother has to come into town to bail him out, which is more of an embarrassment for Gilbert because his mother is very overweight. The movie is very sad, and you will find yourself crying through a few parts of it. I love Juliette Lewis in this role too, a far cry from natural born killers, but she starts to show Gilbert that there is more to life. Once in awhile he has to ask himself what he wants out of life instead of taking care of everyone else....more info
  • Unpredictable DiCaprio
    One of these films that are an essential step in the career of an actor. It was true for Leonardo DiCaprio who got his first Academy Award and Golden Globe nominations for the role of a differently-abled kid . It is true he does a good job in that part and he is a brilliant couple with Johnny Depp as his bigger brother. The film is entertaining though on many other levels. The survival of a small town in the US at a time when big shopping malls are opening everywhere. These small towns are doomed to die sooner or later. Their only chance is to become suburban development projects and become the home of people working in the big city next door who want to live away from the hectic activity of the city and commute there every day. We are before this development in Endora. The second interest is the fate of a family in which there is a mentally disabled child. Here they have no opportunity to provide him with an education and some professional activity. So he is more or less attached to a member of his family and he is haunting if not even worse that brother of his, as well as the police and neighbors. It is never vicious but it is really bothering those who want to have peace and quiet. The place of mentally disabled people in our society is something difficult to envisage because they are necessarily a burden to normative people and a normative system that has to adapt to them and not the reverse. Today things have changed a lot, thanks to such films probably, definitely. Then the film attaches itself to showing the mother who is an extremely obese person, her shame, her humiliation, her lot that is close to an ordeal. The film shows how dependent she is on her own family, on her own children, the father having died a long time before. And the film tries to show her under the best light they can afford. On her disabled son's birthday, after having accepted to be introduced to her elder son's girl friend (a young woman who had to stop in Endora with her mother and their travelling bus for a couple of weeks because of the breakdown of the car they travel in), after climbing back up to the second floor bedroom of the house for the first time in many years and lying there on her back, she dies without any kind of pain or noise with her disabled son calling for her to wake up. The film though has a strange ending. The children decide to burn her in the house since she cannot be taken down. A domestic pyre for the mother and a complete liberation for the children who are scattered away now they are homeless. The burial of old civilizations, of the Hinduist tradition. Amazing. And yet it is not the end. A last scene shows how the elder brother is recuperated by his girlfriend who comes back to pick him up and away from Endora and by picking one she gets two because the disabled brother comes along too. That's what happens when a mechanical incident forces you to stop over in a lost village in the countryside for a couple of weeks. You get trapped in some kind of sentimental cage like the disabled brother's crickets in his glass jar where he raises them. A good decent softly entertaining film.

    Dr Jacques COULARDEAU, University Paris Dauphine, University Paris 1 Pantheon Sorbonne & University Versailles Saint Quentin en Yvelines
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  • Deju-Vu
    The story takes place in Endora and just so happins I live in Medora.The town looks eerily like mine watertower and all.REAL LIFE caught on film.Priceless...more info
  • Stunned by the performance
    I'm usually pleased with the acting ability of Johnny Depp, but I was stunned by Leonardo DiCaprio's performance as a mentally challenged boy. This is an excellent depiction of a family struggling with survival, boredom and the baggage their father left behind. This is the movie that got me to start paying attention to Leonardo DiCaprio's massive talent.
    Chrissy K. McVay
    author of 'Souls of the North Wind'...more info
  • What's Eating Gilbert Grape
    This was a great movie! Critics reviewed this as "wonderfully original" and I agree. Johnny Depp has such a wide variety of acting abilities and this is definitely no exception. Leonardo DiCaprio did a wonderful portrial of a mentally handicapped young man - very impressive. What a story! Probably not the ending that you would expect....more info
  • What's Eating Gilbert Grape
    As a teacher of children with disabilities and a parent of a daughter with Down Syndrome, I am amazed at the actors in this movie. DeCaprio and Depp are brilliant in the portrayal of their characters.It is realistic, touching, and very funny! It is accurate without being demeaning. Too bad I can only give it 5 stars!...more info