This is the first full week of the 7-in-7 and The Revenant comes out on Friday. I will be reviewing it this week so I thought watching some older Leonardo DiCaprio films. I’ve seen many of them but there are a few that I either don’t remember, never saw, or never sat and really watched. I started this venture down DiCaprio Boulevard with the 1993 film “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape,” which has a 7.8 out of 10 stars on IMDB and 89% on Rotten Tomatoes.
Leonardo DiCaprio plays Arnie Grape, a young man with a development disability that resembles Autism, who’s brother Gilbert, played by Johnny Depp, acts as the patriarch of the Grape household. They live with their two sisters and severely obese mother in a dilapidated house. The story heavily focuses on Gilbert and the life his is definitely forced into living.
Becky, played by Juliette Lewis, shows up as part of an RV caravan and seems to spark an interest in Gilbert. Gilbert has to break off an affair with an older, married women, Mary Steenburgen, in order to pursue his interest in Becky. Crispin Glover plays a creepy mortician and John C. Riley plays Gilbert’s friend. It’s very fun watching these famous actors from today at this stage in their respective careers.
The movie is endearing and captivating even though most of the drama is relatable or self contained. Ultimately the stories biggest conflict is inside Gilbert as he comes to term with his station in life, his mom, and his responsibility with Arnie. However, the characters in the film are interesting and well played. That alone is enough to keep the attention of the audience.
DiCaprio’s portrayal of Arnie earned him one of his four Academy Award nominations and it was well deserved. Arnie is likely, empathetic, and sad. DiCaprio’s performance is extremely believable and it’s surprising that he didn’t win for best supporting actor that year (no offense to Tommy Lee Jones).
I definitely think this is a good watch for anyone who enjoys a good character film. I give What’s Eating Gilbert Grape 6 out of 10 stars. I think now is a good time to explain the ratings I’m giving. Basically, a 1 is “Don’t watch”, 5 is “worth your time,” and 10 is “WHY HAVE YOU NOT STARTED THIS MOVIE YET!”