In the movie ‘What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?,’ director Lasse Hallstrom presents “a slice of life” story about a young man named Gilbert Grape. Gilbert faces a huge challenge in his life. He is trapped by Endora, the town he lives in, and he has to look after his depressed obese mother and his mentally disabled brother. When I was watching the movie, I felt deep sympathy for him and heartened when Gilbert finally overcomes this challenge with the help of a free-spirited girl, Becky.
When we see Endora at the beginning of the film, we are immediately aware of Gilbert’s challenge. Gilbert describes the town as a dying one, where ’Nothing much ever happens, and nothing ever will.’ The director conveys this idea by incorporating wide angle shots of the town together with Gilbert’s voice over. Endora is shown as an empty town, or even a ‘ghost town’, a place where no one lives. He feels trapped and this is gradually ‘eating’ him. I found it sad when Gilbert, seeing the motor houses, said, “They are doing the right thing, just passing through.” Unlike the motor houses, Gilbert ‘isn’t going anywhere’. This concept is established repetitively throughout the movie to enhance the feeling of entrapment. Along with Gilbert, I felt lost in this dying town. There are often things that keep people stranded, and living in Endora might be the best example.
Endora What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
Gilbert is also facing a challenge in his home life. Gilbert’s father died sixteen years ago and he has to take over his father’s role. He needs to look after his mother, Bonnie, and a mentally disabled younger brother, Arnie. Bonnie is now suffering from depression and is morbidly obese, and she is incapable of fulfilling her responsibilities as a mother. Gilbert feels embarrassed about her, ‘You see with momma there’s no nice way to break it to you’. As for Arnie, Gilbert has to look after him constantly. He takes Arnie with him to work, helps him bathe …