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How Have Generic Techniques Been Used To Shape Our Response Towards The Characters Of The Feature Film "What's Eating Gilbert Grape"? Write Your Response In The Form Of A Book Review.

1937 words - 8 pages

What's eating Gilbert Grape? is a dramatic, feature film produced by renowned Swedish director, Lasse Hallstrom. This adaptation from the novel by Peter Hedges follows a short chain of events that leads to the grim realization of the main character's dead-end life. With the help of the town visitor, Gilbert Grape rises from his oppressed state to live for himself as well as for those he is left to care for, including his retarded brother, Arnie, and his grossly overweight mother.The setting of the town of Endora (pop. 1041) suits the remote feel and facilitates stunned emotions as something out of the ordinary takes place. It is a small town in Iowa in which the Grape family live. They fit perfectly into its dull and uneventful nature. The small and remote nature is displayed through the desolate nature of the opening scene where the viewer sees the endlessness of the farmland terrain. Arnie and Gilbert, standing there with their old and uninteresting clothes, seem completely dwarfed by this view, expressing an intense sense of isolation. To convey the dwarfing image, the director Lasse Halstrom uses a high, long shot to show the miniature figures of Gilbert and Arnie amongst the endless fields. This effect and feeling is further enhanced when the house is introduced into the story. The viewer sees a plainly built house consuming roughly one third of the shot with the rest of the long shot being consumed by an endless field with no further evidence of life. This environment of a remote and stagnant place is always present throughout the film as many of the scenes contain the telltale marks of great remoteness via the use of the long shot. The town's isolation makes it possible to give the story practically any setting of time even though in the respect that in such isolation, it is not possible for modernization to reach the old, 80's style town. Gilbert and Arnie establish the time once again during the opening with the adornment of old jackets and shirts. The long, uneventful pauses draws your attention to the finer details of the physical characters and the clothes immediately tells the viewer the rough time period of the 80's. This chronological assumption is confirmed as the screen moves to the town centre. When confronted with the old and run-down town, once again the thoughts of a scarcely populated area comes rushing into mind.The characters of the Grape family at first seem very conflicting, but then grow to become very supportive and of each other in the wake of an event that rocks their world. Consequent to their late fathers' suicide and Bonnie's helpless obesity, the family practically has no proper parental figures. The two older siblings of the family take these roles: Amy and Gilbert. The first scene inside the house opens with Amy cooking breakfast and doing the tasks we would assume the mother to do. "My older sister Amy's more like a mother" Gilbert says when describing the out of the ordinary family. During the following few...

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