Parents' Guide to

What's Eating Gilbert Grape?

By Ellen Twadell, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 14+

'90s drama about dysfunctional family has mature themes.

Movie PG-13 1993 118 minutes
What's Eating Gilbert Grape? Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 8 parent reviews

age 13+

Loved it since a kid!

My sister introduced me to this movie when we were young, around the first time it came out on video (nothing much disturbed me - I could handle almost any film). I loved it, even though it deals with a lot of adult situations throughout. There is just something so lovable about the story. Probably one of the very best movies that deals with dysfunctional families and it's very realistic! Gilbert (Johnny Depp) is troubled and confused, after the death of his father and his mother giving up on life and becoming terribly obese, it leaves Gilbert the man of the house. Raising his sisters and autistic brother (Leonardo DiCaprio), he deals with so many responsibilities that soon drives him up the wall. Meeting new girl Becky, and eventually falling in love, she helps to shape his life back to normal. This film is very depressing, it's very sad and emotional. It deals with a lot of death including suicide. There is some violence (slapping an autistic boy, a scene of pulling his hair and dragging him on the ground. Yelling and arguing by family members, an obese woman is humiliated and talked about.) Sexual content includes an affair with an older married woman (a heavy making out scene on a kitchen table, she tells him to come by her place a couple times, she also tells him she wants to "play", oral sex is implied and briefly shown - a woman goes down on Gilbert - no nudity, innocent kissing by a couple). Language is sometimes angry and hurtful, no "F" words though. Gilbert is embarrassed by his mother and at one point calls her a beach whale. Overall, the whole story is an amazing look at life and dealing with stress, loneliness and self destruction. Have to say that Leonardo's performance is simply incredible!!!!! Sit near a kleenex box for this one, there are many emotional scenes!! Mature kids only!!

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
2 people found this helpful.
age 13+

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape.

It’s a raw look at what happens within a household behind the scenes where all pretenses are dropped as each family member is absorbed in only themself. I felt Leonardo DiCaprio gave a Grammy worth performance. Personally I don’t feel that there is a movie out there to include Jonny Depp in it , that isn’t a phenomenal movie. He is a flawless actor no matter what role he is cast in.
1 person found this helpful.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (8):
Kids say (37):

What's Eating Gilbert Grape is sometimes hard to watch, but well worth it. There are some difficult scenes dealing with hard-hearted outsiders teasing the Grape family, and some scary ones when Gilbert loses his temper with Arnie. But there are also moments of beauty and compassion, and an offbeat sense of humor throughout. A wonderful cast brings the characters to life. Watching this movie will remind viewers of Depp's talent and DiCaprio's range. The film is also a visual treat, with lush sweeps of Iowa farm country serving as a backdrop for the drama.

Movie Details

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