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What's Eating Gilbert Grape

video review out of 4 Movie Review: What's Eating Gilbert Grape

Starring: Johnny Depp, Juliette Lewis
Director: Lasse Hallstrom
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 117 Minutes
Release Date: December 1993
Genres: Comedy, Drama, Romance

*Also starring: Mary Steenburgen, Leonardo DiCaprio, John C. Reilly, Darlene Cates, Laura Harrington, Mary Kate Schellhardt, Crispin Glover, Kevin Tighe

Review by Steve Rhodes
½ star out of 4

WHAT'S EATING GILBERT GRAPE is a movie popular with the critics. Johnny Depp stars as the son of a 600 pound mother (Darlene Cates). He has two sisters (Laura Harrington and Mary Kate Schellhardt) plus an 18 year old brother (Leonardo DiCaprio) who is retarded and spends most of his time climbing the local water tower thereby bothering the police. Also in it are Juliette Lewis as the girlfriend and Mary Steenburgen terribly miscast as a married woman with whom Depp is having an affair.

First, the good part. There is a 20 second clip of an architecturally interesting courthouse. The rest of the show is either boring or unbearably depressing. The first 60 minutes of the show took at least 3 hours. If I had been by myself, I would have walked out after 30 minutes tops. I felt the movie actually get worse as it went along.

Let me see if it is possible to chronicle some of the things I hated about this movie. Depp slept through it. [Wish I had!] He was clearly under heavy sedation at all times. He reminded the audience again and again about how lovely his mother used to be before she got to be a "beached whale" as he described her. He would take the local kids over to see his mother from a window like a barker at a side show. What a great kid!

A lot of the movie was devoted to the boy with a body of an 18 year old but the mind of a 3 year old and whether he would live to see his next birthday. The way it was handled ranged from fairly depressing to very depressing.

I did not care about any of the characters and got to hoping for a swarm of locus to sweep the plains and kill them all off so we could get a fresh set of actors. Sad to report that no such swarm appeared.

WHAT'S EATING GILBERT GRAPE runs an exhausting 1:58 due to sloppy editing by Andrew Mondshein. It is rated PG-13. For an excellent job of acting by DiCaprio I generously award the show one half of a star, give it a big thumbs down. People who suffering from depression should have their medication close by if they do decide to see it.

Copyright 1994 Steve Rhodes

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