What Eating Gilbert Grape Analysis

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The manner of perception demonstrated by the director, Lasse Hallström, of “What Eating Gilbert Grape?” is established towards people with mental disability but specifically autism. Arnie Grape who is played by Leonardo DiCaprio is a 17 year old boy with autism and shares everything with his older brother and carer Gilbert Grape who was played by Johnny Depp. Arnie elucidates basic behavioural and social aspects that a person with autism would have. Hallstrom interprets a person with autism as a minority by clearly separating the town of Endora, Iowa from not just Arnie but the entire Grape family. The media manages to incorrectly interpret the behaviour, social acceptance and understanding of people with a disability and this movie directly…show more content…
Furthermore, public acknowledgment of people with a disability is either ignored or spotlighted so significantly that the person feels like they stand out in the crowd unnecessarily.

DiCaprio’s character, Arnie who has autism portrays stereotypical behavioural traits of a person with the disability. Throughout the film, it can be analysed that Arnie constantly fidgets with his hands, cannot sit still and has difficulty following basic instructions which can all be examined as stereotypical characteristics of a person with autism. Obviously Hallstrom had a bias and stereotypically view on the behaviour of those with autism as Arnie behaved like a child, no clear independence as his brother, Gilbert had to wash him and put him to bed every night. Socially, Arnie was in need of constant supervision as he had a tendency to perform acts that were previously recognised as inappropriate. His urge to climb the water tower manifests Arnie’s behaviour of being fixed on one idea which can reflect how a genuine person with autism may behave in reference to one individual idea. Evidently, Hallstrom’s inclusion of stereotypes of people with autism’s behaviour can conclude how the town of Endora react to Arnie’s actions. They deceive him as a pest or a piece of entertainment
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Personal attitudes towards people with a disability would have strongly influenced the town of Endora’s behaviour to Arnie. Music played in the film was soft and may have been used to make the audience feel sympathy towards Arnie because he has a disability. However, Hallstrom’s analysis of people with autism cannot be completely accurate as in the film it never recognises that people with autism are highly intelligent in the creative field. Recent studies are shown that the way people perceive creativity and people with autism should be reconsidered. The research article concludes that the authors found that “Autistic people tend to be superior to non-autistic people in many tasks that require processing large amounts of information, picking out details of objects or scenes, or detecting changes in the environment.” (Remington, 2015) These characteristics can be evident in Arnie’s behaviour throughout the film. The town’s behaviour towards Arnie and his family in reference to body language and how they interact can reflect that they feel more normal or above Arnie because they feel he is not as intellectually advanced as they are. In some context, the town of Endora seem to refuse the acceptance of someone different and someone who does something that is not routine. Despite a typical
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