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Movie Analysis of “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”

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In the movie “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape”, the various characters develop and evolve during the course of the film. Each character holds certain individual motivations that drive them to change parts of their personality and how they view certain aspects in their life. Two characters in which change becomes evident in are Gilbert Grape and his mother, Bonnie Grape.

Gilbert Grape’s actions in the movie are mainly motivated by his family and specifically by his father. Gilbert’s father left the family several years earlier, and ever since then Gilbert feels like he has to hold the family together. He works at a local grocery store to provide for the family, he takes care of his younger brother, Arnie, all by himself, and he helps to take care of his obese mother. Gilbert is motivated by responsibility. He feels obligated at the beginning of the movie because it is as if everyone else in his family is helpless. Gilbert’s motivations to care for his family shift over time. By the end of the movie Gilbert realizes how much he means to his mother and how much his family really means to him. He respects his mother more at the end of the movie after he realizes what she went through with his father leaving. He wants to make his mother happy. Gilbert begins to make his mother feel happier by showing her she is important and worth while when he convinces her to meet his girlfriend, Becky, during Arnie’s birthday party.

Mama Grape’s motivations at the beginning of the play are the same motivations she has had for the past seven years. She is trying to make herself feel better about her husband leaving the family through food, and she won’t leave the house to see anyone or do anything. Mama Grape won’t even sleep upstairs when Amy, her oldest daughter, makes up the bed for her. Mama Grape is depressed and is embarrassed of what she has become. However, Mama Grape is motivations change because of her children. When Arnie is put in jail she wants to protect her child. Protecting her child and bringing him home is the only think that has gotten her to leave the house and go into public for the past seven years. Mama Grape also becomes motivated at the end of the movie to begin to change her life style. She does this because she wants to prove to her children she isn’t a joke, she wants to make them happy and start to turn her life around. She begins to change her ways when she walks up the stars to go to bed, unfortunately she dies that same night in bed

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