Rated: PG-13 Reviewed by: Frank Release date: December 17, 1993 Released by: Paramount Pictures Corporation
Gilbert Grape (Johnny Depp) is a father to his two sisters and a retarded brother Arnie (Leonardo DiCaprio). He also takes responsibility for his 500 pound mother (Darlene Cates). His job is delivery boy for the local grocery in a small Texas town.
Gilbert has no dreams; his only excitement is his affair with a married woman named Betty Carver (Mary Steenburgen).
Depp has chosen off beat parts like Edward Sissorhands, Cry Baby and the very pleasant Benny & Joon. He is an interesting and exciting young performer. This work is more centrist, it explores the hopes of a young man who is trapped, the treatment of the retarded and the stigma of seriously overweight people. It also quietly explores the need for a family to stand together no matter what the make up.
Depp's smile is engaging and he is the center of this script, but DiCaprio's performance is flawless, he is remarkably effective and has received an Academy Award nomination for his part. Juliette Lewis at last plays a balanced young woman who comes to town and is attracted to Gilbert.
There is just enough comedy to balance the seriousness and just enough hope at the end to satisfy.
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