What’s Eating Gilbert Grape

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Director: Lasse Hallström. Cast: Johnny DeppLeonardo DiCaprioJuliette Lewis

Today is my a birthday and so I decided to indulge myself and watch one of my favourite films of all time: as a bit of a “Lockdown treat” really.

I remember seeing this back in 1993 when it was first released and instantly falling in love with it. How could you not?Everything about it was just (and still is) perfect for my taste: not just the way it’s filmed, with its warm sun shining, but the beautifully calibrated mix of comedy and drama, romance and everyday life with just the right amount of quickly weirdness (though never distracting or annoyingly whimsical). It slowly got under my skin and eventually touched me like few things had and possibly ever will.

It had such a profound effect on me that that I ended up pretty much “stealing” from most it, for my graduation project when I was in film school.

ohnny Depp in one of his more understated, tender (and best) roles, shines as the Gilbert of the title, but it’s Leonardo DiCaprio, still just a teenager, who really steals your heart and soul. His performance is possibly the best in a career of many amazing performances: impeccably nuanced, utterly convincing and heartbreakingly real (Playing a retarded boy could have gone so much wrong, but it is perfect!!)

Director Lasse Hallström (of “My Life as a Dog” another favourite of mine) slowly draws you into these dysfunctional people’s lives creating a tender, charming atmosphere that infuses warmth at every steps despite an underlying poignancy. His ability to inject just the right amount of comedy into tragic scenes without making a mockery out of them or trivialising them is second to none. It is also a device that helps making the sadder moments more palatable so that when the real tragedy strikes and it’s played straight, the lack of safety-blanket-comedy makes it even more impactful.

Too many scenes have been imprinted in my memory since my first watch this: ultra-fat momma, the floorboards breaking, her wall to the police station, Leo being washed by his brother, the sudden moment when Johnny Depp lashes out at him, that final heartbreaking death and the splendid scenes of people reacting to it, the fire at the end…

I’m pleased to see that today this film is just as powerful, as charming and tender as it’s always been. A timeless classic for me to which I’l be forever grateful.

On Amazon Prime and if you haven’t seen it, DO IT NOW.

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