Gilbert Grape

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In Lasse Hallstrom’s, What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, a young man’s destiny appears to only evolve around keeping a watchful eye on his family & in particular, his brother & embarrassingly obese mother. Gilbert’s younger brother, Arnie, is mentally-impaired & unintentionally holds Gilbert back from experiencing life. When a stranger who is just “passing through” comes into Gilbert’s miserably routine life, his world is upturned with Gilbert experiencing more than he could ask for.

The director of this film, Lasse Hallstrom, uses many techniques to emphasis the change Gilbert experiences. For example, the colours in earlier scenes of the movie are dark & bold during house hold scenes. The lack of colour describes the lack of happiness & dullness in Gilbert’s life. During later scenes, Becky & Gilbert are seen watching the sunset. Soft colours appear such as: Soft blues, greens, browns, & pinks & oranges for the sunset. The introduction of bright colours symbolises a new beginning for a brighter life.

Secondly, the music plays another major technique in this film. At the beginning of the movie when scenes are at Gilbert’s house, the only noises are house hold sounds E.g.: Television, Dishes clanging, Arnie yelling etc. This shows the dullness Gilbert experiences through his life. After meeting Becky, music slowly becomes uplifting throughout romantic & fun scenes. The music underpins the change in Gilbert’s life when Becky becomes involved.

Another technique presented in the film are the camera shots. Throughout the beginning of the movie, Gilbert & Becky are separated in every head shot, showing they are not together. E.g.: In the car with Arnie sitting in the middle when they take her delivery home. This is symbolic of Arnie being a significant barrier to Gilbert’s life. Later on in the movie, Gilbert & Becky are seen in a camera shot sitting watching the sunset. Becky removes the “Arnie Barrier” by establishing a relationship with him, so Gilbert can...
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