What's Eating Gilbert Grape? (Blu-Ray)
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Lasse Hallstrom directs this beautifully photographed, critically acclaimed drama about small-town life and the contraints that a young man's family responsibilities put on his independence. The screenplay is written by Peter Hedges who also wrote the novel of the same name. Bizarre, whimsical, and touching scenes mark WHAT'S EATING GILBERT GRAPE. Johnny Depp is Gilbert, the eldest brother in a large family of a very large (morbidly obese, actually) mother (Darlene Cates) who hasn't left the house since her husband committed suicide years before. Leonardo DiCaprio, who received an Academy Award nomination for his role, is Arnie, Gilbert's retarded teenage brother who needs constant supervision (he's often found scaling the town's water tower). Caring, passive Gilbert is burdened beyond reason, living a dead-end life in a dying small town, stacking shelves at a grocery store whose business is being taken over by the new supermarket. Gilbert's best friends (Crispin Glover and John C. Reilly) see their futures in the form of undertaker and Burger Barn owner, and Gilbert's other social life is taken up with a random affair with a frustrated and reckless housewife (Mary Steenburgen). Everyone needs the constantly patient Gilbert, whose future seems equally grim until well-travelled, straightforward Becky (Juliette Lewis) and her nonconformist grandmother (Penelope Branning) come to town. Their camper van is in need of repair, so Becky stays long enough to actually have an effect on Gilbert, making his new life spiral in wild ways, awakening him to the fact that he is not living his own life. Based on the novel by Peter Hedges (who also wrote the screenplay), WHAT'S EATING GILBERT GRAPE is quirky, irresistible, and endearingly eccentric without being a freak show.
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