Death, The Fear of Gilbert Grape’s Life.
What’s Eating Gilbert Grape film tells a story about Gilbert Grape’s life. Gilbert Grape who is a young man lives in a small town Endora. He is trapped in dilemma of his life such as taking care of his younger brother Arnie has severe mental condition, his morbidly obese mother Bonnie, an affair with Becky… To fully understand Gilbert character in the film, audiences often wonder what is the deepest underlying cause of all these or what is really eating Gilbert Grape. In the beginning of the film, Gilbert describes each of his family members’ issue with sad tone. He also states “My dad built the house, and it’s my job to keep up the repairs.” Gilbert tries his hardest to fulfill his duty towards his father and his family, but he fail to keep everyone happy. Therefore, it builds up his unhappiness and passiveness through time. In other words, Gilbert shows his fear of his own life about dealing with family dramas, making the right decisions for his life or becoming incapable man, accepting risks, change and loss, even death which is eating Gilbert Grape. The film implies that death is eating Gilbert Grape by using metaphorical sense of repeatedly mentioning on images of food and eating. Bonnie who is Gilbert’s mother greatly represents image of food. She becomes a burden on him after Gilbert’s father’s suicide. Gilbert feels ashamed and humiliated by his obese mother who constantly eats food and sleeps on the same couch. On the other hand, Gilbert even tells his lover Becky that his mom is the same as a beach whale. It seems like a laughable moment, but at the same time the audiences can feel Gilbert’s sorrow when he talks about Bonnie. Furthermore, Gilbert’s family wants to celebrate Arnie’s tenth birthday with a feast. Hallstrom paints a picture with huge references to food. Even Gilbert’s last name is a food. It feels like something is eating away Gilbert’s life. By using chocked full of images of food, Hallstrom...
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