Owen Gleiberman
January 21, 1994 AT 05:00 AM EST

What's Eating Gilbert Grape

Current Status
In Season
Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Darlene Cates, Crispin Glover, Juliette Lewis, John C. Reilly, Mary Steenburgen
Lasse Hallstrom

We gave it a B-

Once again (after ”Edward Scissorhands” and ”Benny & Joon”), Johnny Depp seems to be trying to reach a state of complete emotional passivity on screen in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. His Gilbert is the wayward elder son in a family of unhappy weirdos. Director Lasse Hallstrom has made a comedy as gossamer as a butterfly’s wings, one that stares at its characters with ironic affection. Yet, like its poker-faced hero, the movie stares a little too much. ”Gilbert Grape” is sweet and occasionally touching but also wan and distant. It tweaks your sympathies without ever firing your endorphins.

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