Essay on Movie Commentary: What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?

1239 Words 5 Pages
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape is a film focused on Gilbert Grape, a young adult who lives in the small town of Endora, Iowa. Gilbert, a son and a brother, lives in a family of five in a small run-down house built by his father. His mother, Bonnie, has grown morbidly obese after the suicide of her husband 7 years ago and she has not stepped out of the house since. Since his mother lacks the ability to physically move around, Gilbert is left with the responsibility of taking care of his younger brother Arnie, who is mentally retarded, and his two sisters Amy and Ellen. While Gilbert works at a small grocery store to support his dysfunctional family, he leads an empty life. He holds a love affair with Betty Carver, a woman twice his age whom he …show more content…
Gilbert is forced to work at a local grocery store because he has to provide income for his family. Due to his mother’s inability to move and his father’s death, great pressure is put on him to provide for a family of five. Throughout the film, many factors often portray how he has a great deal of pressure. Although Gilbert has the ability to abandon responsibility, the societal factor of being the oldest male chains him to be responsible for the family. He does not realize that he is masking his inner self. Gilbert, like many males is “living behind a mask of masculine bravado that hides the genuine self to conform to our society’s expectations; the feel it is necessary to cut themselves off from any feelings that society teaches them are unacceptable for men and boys—fear, uncertainty, feelings of loneliness and need (Pollack, 1999).” As explained by Pollack, societal pressure force Gilbert to think that he has to handle the situation alone and is afraid of asking for help which eventually causes him to become depressed. Throughout the majority of the film, he is rarely seen smiling, even though he loves his family and has a small group of friends, they fail to make him happy.
Gilbert’s dysfunctional family causes him to lack a social life. He has to constantly tend to Arnie’s needs. Through the film, it is shown that his family is constantly on his mind. Gilbert is seen to be very soft spoken throughout the…