Rain Man is the kind of touching drama that Oscars are made for--and, sure enough, the film took Academy honors for best picture, director, screenplay, and actor (Dustin Hoffman) in 1988. Hoffman plays Raymond, an autistic... more » savant whose late father has left him $3 million in a trust. This gets the attention of his materialistic younger brother, a hot-shot LA car dealer named Charlie (Tom Cruise) who wasn't even aware of Raymond's existence until he read his estranged father's will. Charlie picks up Raymond and takes him on a cross-country journey that becomes a voyage of discovery for Charlie, and, perhaps, for Raymond, too. Rain Man will either captivate you or irritate you (Raymond's sputtering of repetitious phrases is enough to drive anyone crazy), but it is obviously a labor of love for those involved. Hoffman had been attached to the film for many years, as various directors and writers came and went, but his persistence eventually paid off--kind of like Raymond in Las Vegas. Look for director Barry Levinson in a cameo as a psychiatrist near the end of the film. --Jim Emerson« less
This is a great movie, both sad and funny. I watched when it first came out and still enjoy it today.
Alice K. from CHUCKEY, TN Reviewed on 12/18/2008...
Excellent movie. Would watch again.
0 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
246 toothpicks, "counting cards" and lessons in love.
Themis-Athena | from somewhere between California and Germany | 03/15/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Have you ever had to communicate with someone on a different wavelength as you; for example because he speaks a foreign language and you don't have an interpreter, or because he is unable to communicate verbally at all, or maybe just because you keep misunderstanding each other? If so, you know what a frustrating experience it is to have virtually no control over the situation and over making sure that you're actually understood. And in precisely this situation finds himself Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise), personification of the 1980s' yuppie, a used car dealer with major money problems whose only - tentative - personal attachment is to his current girlfriend Susanna (Valeria Golino). Because having learned that except for a few rosebushes and a vintage 1949 Buick Roadmaster his recently-deceased father has left virtually all of his considerable fortune to his autistic brother Raymond (Dustin Hoffman) - a brother he didn't even know he had - Charlie decides to kidnap Raymond from the Cincinnati facility where he lives, take him to California, and demand half the inheritance in exchange for his brother's return.
Now, Charlie isn't the greatest communicator himself; at least as far as listening goes; he is used to talking people down, and if that alone doesn't do the trick, he starts to yell. This, however, just doesn't work with Raymond, who lives in a world of his own and, unable to express emotion in any other way, falls into a nervous tic when feeling threatened. So for the first time in his life Charlie has to learn to accept another human being for what he is, and work *with* his bewildering methods of communication rather than against them. And subtly, very subtly, Charlie begins to change, until at last he no longer wants to relinquish custody of Raymond even after having been offered a substantial amount of money: because now money is no longer an issue at all; now it's all about genuine love for a newly-found brother and very special person.
"Rain Man" is ostensibly told from Charlie's perspective; through his, the "normal" guy's eyes we perceive Raymond's habits, tics and strange behavioral code. And even if Charlie is easy enough to snub for his superficiality and materialism, his frustration at his inability to communicate with his brother feels genuine and is something we can empathize with(albeit perhaps inadmittedly). Tom Cruise plays Charlie with a finely-tuned mix of audacity and reluctant emotion; turning a role that seems to start out as just another Cruise cliche into a character who hesitantly comes to realize his own complexities and shortcomings and learns to appreciate sensitivity, compassion and love - yet, without ever taking the role that treacherous step too far into sentimentality.
Still, important as Charlie's character is for this movie's narrative, this is from first to last Raymond's story; and by the same token Dustin Hoffman's, because the two individuals are in fact inseparable: As Hoffman once explained in an interview, he rejects the notion that acting is merely about playing a role, or that the term "my character" could ever appropriately describe his approach to a role; emphasizing that in every part he plays, he truly has to *become* the individual in question to fully be able to understand and portray him. As such, his achievement with Raymond Babbitt is breathtaking indeed; for in a role which not only imposes severe limitations on his ability to communicate traditionally but also gives him virtually no opportunity to express emotion, he conveys Raymond's frailties, unexpected strengths and, significantly, his profound humanity in a manner that lets you forget you're even looking at a piece of acting, thus accomplishing that rare feat only attained by the greatest of actors - and even among Dustin Hoffman's spectacular performances, this one stands out in particular. (He did, of course, win both the Oscar and the Golden Globe for this movie; but somehow even the industry's highest awards don't begin to express the significance of his achievement.)
Raymond Babbitt's character was based on several real-life autistic persons; and at a time when little was known about the condition even in the medical community, contributed substantially to a greater understanding of those afflicted with it. Not all autistic people are so-called "savants" like Raymond, i.e. possess genial mathematic or other abilities within the shell separating them from the outside world (and conversely, not with all of them that shell is as thick as in Raymond's case; although intricate routines do tend to play a rather important role) - so don't go rushing off with them to Vegas for an exercise in "counting cards," at least not before you've verified that they can memorize entire phone books (at least up to the letter "G"), count the toothpicks in a pile on the floor with one glimpse of an eye and determine the square root of a four- or five-digit number within a matter of seconds without so much as looking at an electronic calculator. Chances are you'd do them tremendous harm, not to mention make a complete fool of yourself.
Dustin Hoffman reportedly fought hard for this movie's production even after several directors (including, inter alia, Stephen Spielberg) had bowed out; and in one of those rare un-Hollywood-like moments even managed to maintain the movie's sense of authenticity up to the very end by prevailing on the writers to drop the projected ending, which would have had Raymond staying with Charlie. - In addition to Hoffman's awards, "Rain Man" received the coveted Oscars for Best Movie, Best Original Screenplay and Best Director (Barry Levinson, who also played the psychiatrist called upon to evaluate whether Raymond is fit to stay with Charlie), plus a number of other American and international awards. For once, the industry collectively got it right. But even if this movie hadn't received a single award, it would still remain one of recent film history's greatest and truly unforgettable moments - definitely, it would.
Also recommended: The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew Awakenings Lorenzo's Oil The Graduate (40th Anniversary Collector's Edition) The Color of Money"
Rain Man Review
Gill | Montreal | 12/18/1999
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In response to the movie "Rain Man", I felt that the role played by Dustin Hoffman (Raymond Babbitt) was unbelievable. Dustin Hoffman is a great actor as the Rain Man, and demonstrates incredibly well how an autistic person reacts towards certain things as well as changes in his routine life. He captures autism in such a way that you could actually believe in his performance. I was amazed at the way he was able to pull off this role. Tom Cruise's role (Charlie Babbitt) was equally as brilliant, who is the villain of the story who undergoes such a sharp change that it's almost not visible until nearly the end. Charlie is shown to be a selfish and greedy jerk at the beginning of the film, but as mentioned before, his gradual understanding of his brother's disability, and extra abilities, are what eventually leads to the grasping of a strong relationship with his brother. Tom Cruise, in my opinion, was perfectly suited for the flashy, egotistical character of Charlie, and I think he did a great job. Furthermore, the directing of the film was beautiful, for the most part just letting the action unfold, which is exactly the way it should have been done. I also believe that "Rain Man" portrays many aspects of autism quite well. The movie is an introduction to autism for most people who see it for the first time. In summary, Charlie Babbitt, played by Tom Cruise, is a self-centered car dealer, and leaves on vacation with his girlfriend Susanna, played by Valeria Golino. However, on route with his girlfriend, he unfortunately learns that his father who threw him out as a teenager has passed away, and decides to show up at his funeral for only one reason, to get the money his father left behind. Upon arriving for the funeral, Charlie learns that his father left him a now antique convertible, which he originally loved and wanted in his teen years, but which his father never let him drive. Unfortunately for Charlie, he can't get the money which he truly desired, since he discovers that it has been given to a mental institution Charlie is unaware of. Charlie therefore decides to take matters in his own hands and goes to the institution to find out what their connection with his father was. It is only then that he learns that he has a big brother by the name of Raymond, played by Dustin Hoffman, who is autistic and lives in this institution. Charlie tries to convince the manager of the institution to let him have the money, since his brother can't do nothing with it because he doesn't even understand the concept of money. The manager of the institution refuses to give him the money, because he promised Charlie's father that he'd make sure to leave it to Raymond no matter what happened. Charlie is enraged by what has happened and by his father keeping Raymond's existence from him his entire life. As a result, Charlie takes Raymond out of the institution without the permission of the manager, and this is how Charlie gets to know his big brother Raymond. The two begin a long road trip that will lead them to an understanding of each other, and I believe that this trip across the country was the start in the relationship between the two brothers. This movie was very emotional at some times, and had it's funny moments as well. I believe that "Rain Man" is truly a work of art, and a film that everyone can watch, understand, and enjoy."
David John Wood | 04/14/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"The first thing that pleased me about this purchase was the new cover, synchronously both the same but not the same as the original. Gone was the huge tree-lined drive of the institution from which Charlie was springing his autistic brother, and in its stead appeared a country road underfoot and a beautiful blue sky towering above them, stretching forever and ever. The Internet is overloaded with reviews of the movie Rain Man that have missed the main point of the movie, but the Special Edition of the movie will at the very least have put paid to most of them. Just watch the featurette. It lasts only a few minutes but explains all that had hitherto been missing from those tens of thousands of words. I remember watching the movie on its release and reading in the acknowledgements mention of the role that the autistic society of America played. Yet only concentrating on this and the fact that Hoffman won the Oscar for his role as the autistic Ray (not Cruise who played his brother Charlie) has led many to falsely assume this movie is about Raymond, and thus autism. The producer sets this sidetrack straight in the featurette when he states that the movie is not about Raymond but Charlie, as he is the one who changes. Films communicate their stories through the metaphors they contain. Once you can understand the metaphors, you can understand the movie. By realizing that autism is the vehicle and Charlie's change is the tenor, we can finally get the story's meaning the right way around. To confirm this fact, Tom Cruise comments that Charlie learns to live life again through his brother, Raymond, who is autistic, and that Charlie is an "emotional autistic". Most films' appeal is a character with strong emotions who changes. Although Charlie changes, Ray is not emotional and does not change. But it was Hoffman who won the Oscar for Best Actor, not Cruise, and he had even suggested that Ray be autistic for the final shooting script. The subject is Charlie's change which we measure by Ray's lack of one. The main metaphor is autism, more than the car or even the journey. Ray's immutability is the yardstick that allows us to savor all the more Charlie's transformation into a feeling human being. The final word from the featurette must go to Hoffman as he made the movie such a major part of himself and vice versa. He spells out his own heart by explaining that, when we meet people whose lives are touched by autism, we can't help but to be affected by them. And we hope that if we could just give them enough love they might somehow be released from their condition. The movie wanted the audience to somehow feel the same way. Charlie has to travel the breadth of America to find out that, though that's impossible, trying to do so can help us heal ourselves. And finally, returning to the box cover, another often missed facet of the movie is also made clear - from the puff of sand when Charlie u-turns at the news of his father's death, through the dead roses, dried up pool, then the rain that weeps into it like tears, the background also transmogrifies as the sky expands in ever deeper shades of blue, love blooming in the gorgeous greening, and the high point, the fountains shooting high into the sky outside the casino hotel after Charlie's new family, Ray and Suzanna are all reunited. "
"Rain Man: Special Edition" -- Good DVD, Even Better Film!
David Von Pein | Mooresville, Indiana; USA | 05/25/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
""Rain Man" reigned in the 1988 "Best Picture" Academy Award, and deservedly so. This film is everything a "Best Picture" Oscar winner should be, in my view. It has tenderness, romance, drama, compassion, likeable characters, and a biting humor as well. It's a "road" picture, while at the same time encompassing so many other things too. Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman give highly-memorable and powerful performances in "Rain Man". Some of the moments in the movie that I find particularly memorable (and deserving of multiple replays whenever loading this up into the DVD Player) include these ............ > The first meeting between "Charlie" and "Raymond", when Charlie finds Ray behind the wheel of his rare 1948 automobile (excellent "first meeting" of these characters).> The "shorts on the highway" scene.> "Qantas never crashed".> The Blackjack scene in Vegas.> "I like having you for my big brother".This "SE" release of "Rain Man" includes an enhanced (anamorphic) 1.85:1 Widescreen version of the movie -- and it gets an A+ on my "PQ Report Card". The digital video is beautiful throughout, with radiant colors. The audio comes through loud and clear via the disc's bold English 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround track. Two foreign-language DD tracks are also part of this DVD -- a 2.0 Surround in French, and a Spanish 2.0 Mono track.The DVD Special Features are a wee bit on the light side for a so-called "Special Edition". Although, if you like Audio Commentaries, you've come to the right place with this "Rain Man" DVD. Three separate filmmaker Commentary Tracks are featured on this one-disc "SE", including one by Director Barry Levinson.Other bonus material includes ..........>> Original Featurette. -- This short bonus is fairly thin on content, but does provide a few comments from stars Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise (circa 1988). Not much to sink your "Making Of" teeth into here though. The video for this featurette is Full Frame (1.33:1). Length = 6:55. .... It would have been nice to have had a feature-length "Making-Of" documentary included on this "SE" DVD. But, maybe next time. >> One Deleted Scene. -- I kind of liked this. This excised scene shows Raymond entering a convenience store, where he begins helping himself to the store's stock of food and beverages (to the dismay of the shop's proprietor). Charlie enters at the end of this short scene to "rescue" Raymond. It's a pretty good scene, but certainly not essential to the storyline; and I can see why it was cut. Especially considering the film's already-lengthy 134-minute final running time. This deleted clip lasts 2:01, and is presented in 1.33:1 Full-Frame ratio.>> Original Theatrical Trailer. -- A fun and funny trailer. Shown in 1.33:1. Run time -- 2:14.>> Photo Gallery. -- This Gallery (which *is* anamorphic) is broken up into five different segments.>> Bonus DVD Trailers. No "Chapter List" paper insert is included with this DVD. The case looks kind of bare without any insert, I must admit. But, starting in late 2003 (approx.), many studios began to go the "el-cheapo" route on us, and no longer provide physical paper enclosures inside the DVD cases anymore. Gee, you'd think a "Special Edition" release would at least warrant a slim, one-page insert. Oh, well...what are ya gonna do? No biggie really. But I'd still prefer to have an insert for all DVD releases (even if it's only an ad for other DVD products). Even with the rather skimpy selection of supplements here, this DVD still comes highly recommended by this "Rain Man" fan. The picture and sound quality are dazzling; and the film itself is ... well ... I'm sure you know ..... Oscar worthy! Get this today!"