It was received positively by both audiences and critics alike, and though the description on the back of the DVD sounds like a cheap summer novel, it really wasn't that bad.
"Living in Endora is like dancing to no music. Gilbert Grape (Depp) should know. Aside from a secret affair with a housewife (Mary Steenburgen), Gilbert spends his days stocking shelves at a grocery store, caring for his mentally handicapped brother (DiCaprio), and holding together a large family headed by Mama, a former beauty queen whose weight tops 500 pounds. But just when Gilbert thinks nothing will ever change, a pretty stranger (Juliette Lewis) arrives on the scene, capturing Gilbert's heart and inspiring him to make a break."
It sounds incredibly cheesy and just plain "Whaaaaat?" But I actually liked the movie, it had quite a few sad/heartbreaking scenes, a few awkward scenes (to tell the truth I don't think I would have liked the movie all that much if not for Johnny Depp as Gilbert Grape)
The Praying Mantis part.... random to say the least. As you might have guessed by now there are a couple of suggestive scenes, nothing revealing I found it incredibly awkward more than anything else. The movie has some scenes that don't really have anything to do with anything (let me rephrase that) this movie has something different, it's not predictable but it's not your typical twist and turn movie either, its just like real life I suppose, and that's what I like about this, it's a different kind of story than any other film I have ever watched.
Johnny Depp: Gilbert Grape
Leonardo DiCaprio: Arnie Grape
Juliette Lewis: Becky
Darlene Cates: Bonnie Grape
Mary Steenburgen; Betty Carver
Laura Harrington: Amy Grape
Mary Kate Schellhardt: Ellen Grape
Kevin Tighe: Ken Carver
John C. Reilly: Tucker
Crispin Glover: Bobby McBurney
Penelope Branning: Becky's Grandma
Gilbert Grape was (obviously) my favorite character, though he did have moments where he acted like a jerk. (Even if you do feel sorry for him). Becky was my second favorite character, I feel like she and I are very alike, she is not this smooth talking socialite (like most girls are in movies) she is somewhat random, is herself and she likes the sky too! I also liked that she was nice and sweet but not sickeningly so. (She did have awful short hair) I really don't like it at all, on the other hand Johnny Depp looked rather nice in longer hair.
And DiCaprio's acting in this film has often been praised, and I concur, it is superb! Arnie has some sort of autism (I think) and DiCaprio really pulled it off, unless you knew of him you would never guess that he is actually healthy and normal in real life.
I definitely recommend that you give this movie a try!