What 's Eating Gilbert Grape? Essay

1476 Words6 Pages
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape
Sarah Chun
New York University

In Lasse Hallström’s film, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?, the struggles of living with a mental illness is displayed through Arnie Grape, the protagonist’s younger brother. Grape’s disability is never discussed in the movie, as the movie focuses on Gilbert Grape, the principal character, and his struggles with life and family responsibilities. With the use of various resources, such as a psychology textbook (Lilienfeld 2014), credible health associations’ websites, and The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DMS-5), one is capable of analyzing the nature of Arnie’s disorder and make a valid assumption that he is dealing with a mental illness: autism. Autism is a spectrum disorder characterized by “various degrees in difficulties in social interaction, verbal and nonverbal communication and repetitive behaviors” ("Learning About Autism," n.d.). It becomes clear, through Arnie Grape’s social and cognitive impairment, that he has Autism, despite the fact that the film does not clearly state that he has a mental illness.

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape One of the most obvious suggestions that Arnie has autism is his social impairment. The DMS-5, “an official system for classifying individuals with mental disorders (Lilienfeld, 2014),” states how the mental illness, autism, “[can impair] the ability to change communication to match context or the needs of the
Get Access