Leonardo DiCaprio is a born artist! At the age of 19, his performance as the mentally ill Arnie Grape is truly astounding. Rarely do supporting roles translate themselves as main roles during the course of a movie and Leonardo does it with such charisma.
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape is a laid-back family drama happening in a small town where the lull of waving fields and full view of the sunset prevail more than the buzz and flamboyance of concrete. Gilbert Grape, played by Johnny Depp in a consciously subdued fashion, dithers on the borderline between what he wants to do and what he has to do. It’s about his mildly dysfunctional family and what lies within. It’s about Gilbert’s love for a free-spirited nomadic woman. It’s about the lost pride of his obese mother who wouldn’t take one step out of the house. It’s about the hyperactive Arnie who loves to climb on the branch of a tree and hear his brother call, “Where’s Arnie?” In the scene towards the end where Arnie tries to wake his mother, you will realize how behavioral acting could instantly transcend all preset virtues of film-making.