What's Eating Gilbert Grape

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What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?

Growing up is the process of maturing physically and emotionally. It helps develop a sense of individuality and identity. Lasse Hallstroms 1993 film ‘What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?’ shows the stages of growing up such as childhood, life experience, maturity and family and friends. Growing up is a significant part of our lives.

Childhood is an important factor of growing up as children begin to develop their sense of identity. This occurs during the period of birth and puberty in a person’s life. Arnie Grape, from the film ‘What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?’ (1993), is the definition of childhood. He is turning 18 years old but has developmental disability where he is stuck in a childhood state forever. A high angle shot of Arnie when he climbs the water tower is used to show how he was unsafe and helpless. The reverse shot shown while he was climbing the tower highlights his innocence and child-like manner. The montage of Arnie at the beginning of the film shows snippets of Arnies behaviour and attitudes. This give the audience an insight and brief understanding of his everyday life. Repetition/motif of Arnie playing hide-n-seek in the tree shows that he still has the playfulness in him as he did at the beginning of the film. The personality of an individual emerges through the stages of childhood and continues to develop as they grow.

Maturity is influenced by the different factors of growing up such as childhood, life experience and family and friends. Different experiences create different levels of maturity. Maturity is the process of accepting responsibilities for ones’ own actions. The eldest son, Gilbert Grape has matured throughout the film “What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?’. Dialogue of Gilbert saying “I want you to meet somebody…please, just this once for me …I want this. I’m not going to hurt…...

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