At a recent writers’ workship meeting I was enthusing about Leonardo Di Caprio’s acting skills and LG recommended I should watch 1993 film What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, so we did, this evening, and were not disappointed. A young Di Caprio (19) plays a boy with developmental disabilities and his performance is surely up there close to Dustin Hoffman’s Rainman. Johnny Depp is excellent as his older brother. This is a film (from the 1991 novel of the same name by Peter Hedges) about the profound ennui of middle America, set in an imaginary town, the aptly-named Endora, where men and fathers commit suicide and mothers seek release in over-eating or having affairs. Salvation comes for Depp’s Gilbert Grape in the form of Becky (Juliette Lewis), who arrives with her grandmother in a trailer, but not before Di Caprio’s Arnie leads his brother a merry dance. Whilst we empathise with Gilbert Grape’s predicament, we never lose sympathy for Arnie. Two fine performances from two fine actors before Titanic and Pirates of the Caribbean imprisoned them in the sticky amber of major stardom.