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What's Eating Gilbert Grape?

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What's Eating Gilbert Grape? Gilbert Grape lives in the small town of Endora with his family, which isn't like any other nuclear family. His very obese mother, Bonnie, hasn't left the house since her husband committed suicide in their basement 7 years ago. She spends most of her time on the sofa eating chips and watching television. Because of the mother's state Gilbert has to take the responsibility for repairing the old house and look after his younger siblings. Particularly the youngest brother, Arnie, who is mentally challenged. At the beginning of the film we follow the family preparing for Arnie's 18th birthday - a few days before the party (misplaced comma) Becky and her grandmother arrive at the town in their house trailer. When Gilbert first sees Becky he starts to rethink his life and all of a sudden everything changes for Gilbert. ...read more.


The relations in the film are very important, because through these you can analyse every single individual, all the characters and the environment as well Gilbert gets more and more mature throughout the film - he has courage the size his mother's mass when he introduces Becky to his mother and he realizes how important it is to take responsibility towards his family. The children distance themselves from their embarrassment of their mother by letting the children of the neighbourhood point fingers of scorn at her and by laughing along with them. At the beginning of the film the mother is pictured like she doesn't care about her children's welfare, which is why the scene where she drives to the police station is so important, because it tells us that she really does concern about her children, but she is stuck in her way of life. ...read more.


The last sentence in the movie is: "We can go anywhere", which I find very impressive - it's another way of saying: "Where there is a will there is a way", which refers to the future of the now orphan children. When the mother is gone they have the opportunity to start afresh, which is probably another contributing reason why they burn down the house. This scene is also very symbolic - almost like a ceremony. Now are all the things which have eaten up Gilbert gone - as the title says: The responsibility, the lost childhood and missing his father. The explanation of the strange relationships between the brothers and sisters is perhaps that they were cheated of their childhood - because of the great responsibility towards both Arnie and Bonnie. It's as if the mother and the children have switched roles. Those are some of the main themes in this film. Mette Serup 1.D. English 03/10 - 2006. 1 ...read more.

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