Rain Man (1988) Review

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The Good The Bad and the Interesting
"I'm an excellent driver."
-Raymond Babbit

Method actor, Dustin Hoffman (The Graduate, Marathon Man) joins co-star, Tom Cruise (Top Gun, Jerry McGuire) in this point A to point B film about companionship. Cruise plays the role of protagonist, Charlie Babbit; an impatient and intolerant car dealer who is irritated after being screwed out of his three million dollar inheritance from his father who recently passed. Aggravated and determined to see his birthright, Charlie and his girlfriend Susana travel in a 1949 Buick Road Master Convertible to the Wallbrook Mental Institution, where the money has been directed to. It is at this institution, Charlie is introduced to his autistic older brother, Raymond Babbit. Prior to visiting Wallbrock, Charlie never knew of his brother's existence and it is the interactions and bonding the brothers go through that further explains his frustration when he asks, "Why didn't somebody tell me I had a brother?"

The film is about the bonding of the two siblings during a six day road trip, but perhaps the strongest quality of the film is Dustin Hoffman's portrayal of a man living with autism. The acting heavyweight drew into his experience working in a psychiatric home to help him build his character. In addition, Hoffman spent quite a bit of time interacting with Kim Peek, the autistic savant (often called "The human google") that screenwriter, Barrow Morrow based the film on. An autistic savant is someone with impressive intelligence in mathematics, or memorization, but lacks the judgmential and social skills of a person not living with a mental illness.

Autism speaks lists some of the symptoms for an individual living with autism. A psychologist can check box all symptoms in Hoffman's character, as Raymond demonstrates them all within this film. From involuntary body movements, such as rocking back and forth and rearranging objects to repeating his thoughts aloud and avoiding eye contact, there is no denying Hoffman's A+ acting within this film.

Whether he's memorizing a phone book, reciting Abbott and Costello's, "Who's on First", or remembering the sequence of a deck of cards, there is no denying Raymond's intelligence. As a man living with mental illness, Raymond changes very little throughout this 1988 drama. It is his younger brother, Charlie who learns how to become a more tolerant and compassionate person.

Rain Man has grossed over 350 million dollars worldwide and was the highest grossing movie of 1988, out grossing flicks such as: Big, Beetlejuice, Coming to America and even Die Hard!

Although there are some scenes with choppy editing and continuity issues, this PG-13 drama is still a good watch and well worth the numerous awards it was presented.

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amazing film, one of the best films of the 80s and certainly in my top 10 or 15 of all time, gave it a rewatch a couple of years ago, quality film and amazing story.

Great review of Rain Man which featured some behind the scene trivia I have never heard before, which is impressive considering how old the film is.