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Whats Eating Gilbert Grape, Movie Analysis

Essay by   •  September 11, 2011  •  Case Study  •  970 Words (4 Pages)  •  5,225 Views

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The film 'What's Eating Gilbert Grape?', directed by Lasse Holstron, is based on the life of a young Mr Gilbert Grape. Due the untimely death of his father, Gilbert has taken on the responsibilities and roll of the dominate parent for not only his siblings but also for his House Bound mother. It quickly becomes apparent that Gilbert is depressed and over worked. Gilbert lives a life which seems aimless, and he personally seems to be nothing more than an Emotionless shell, no longer happy and living, but in a way, the Walking Dead. This is bought on by the endless and strenuous demands placed on him. These demands include; the running and maintaining of a household, looking after his siblings, especially Arnie, his autistic brother, and supporting his mother. His life is full of meaningless repetition, looking after others needs and never his own, and he remains that way until Becky enters his life. Becky is a girl who travels in the caravan concession. She teaches Gilbert that it's ok to have wants and needs for himself, and in essence, brings the life back to him as he begins to snap.

Throughout the movie, the most used symbolism is that of water. Water represents life. It was first bought up when Gilbert is talking about his father, who was 'Hung out to dry'. Drying out, it represents losing life. Gilbert is like an empty cup, he has no life, and he's keeping it that way. Arnie, Gilbert's brother has this constant urging to climb up the Water Tower. This has the representation of trying to join those who live, he is constantly trying to live, but Gilbert, the Police men and his sister Ellen are always trying to stop him. In essence they are babying him and denying him the chance to live. At Arnie's Party, one of Gilbert's friends says "you have a problem, there's water leaking in to the basement, and you need to put a stop to it." The Basement is where Gilbert's Father hung himself. It is a place of no life. Stopping water from going in has 2 representations, one stopping people living, and two, the water starts leaking in after Gilbert rejoins life. Stopping the water means Gilbert needs to stop living and go back to how things were to start. It is after meeting Becky, that Gilbert begins living again, and filling his cup of life. Becky teaches him to have fun and to live, hence filling up his cup of life, and allowing Gilbert to live again. The symbolism of water is one of the main points in the movie, and it's brought up again and again as Gilbert claws his way towards living.

Gilbert lives in a Dysfunctional family. After his father was 'Hung out to dry', Gilbert had to take on the rolls and responsibility of a parent. Gilbert and his sister Amy, Look after not only their younger siblings, Ellen and Arnie, but also their house bound and morbidly obese mother. Their mother had taken to 'comfort eating' after her husband's



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