What's Eating Gilbert Grape?

Movie review by Ellen Twadell, Common Sense Media
What's Eating Gilbert Grape? Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 14+

'90s drama about dysfunctional family has mature themes.

PG-13 1993 118 minutes

Parents say

age 12+

Based on 8 reviews

Kids say

age 12+

Based on 38 reviews

Did we miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.

A Lot or a Little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Community Reviews

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.
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
1 person found this helpful.

Movie Details

Our Editors Recommend

  • Edward Scissorhands Poster Image

    Edward Scissorhands

    Dark yet sweet underdog tale for older kids.

    age 13+
  • Billy Elliot Poster Image

    Billy Elliot

    Terrific story of young ballet dancer has strong language.

    age 13+
  • The Other Sister Poster Image

    The Other Sister

    Overly sentimental movie is unlikely to interest teens.

    age 13+

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

  • Young girl staring at her dad
    See all
  • Kids in class
    See all

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

  • Cartoon picture of a book
    Book Characters
    See all
  • Cartoon picture of a sister and brother holding hands
    Brothers and Sisters
    See all

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate