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Rain Man (1988)

  Directed by: Barry Levinson
Written by: Ronald Bass, Barry Morrow
Starring: Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman
Links: Rain Man on the IMDb, Buy on Video, Buy on DVD, Buy the Soundtrack, Buy the Book
Genre: Drama

This movie gets: 10.00 (1 rating)
nofreelist.com Ranking: not yet ranked (awaiting 2 ratings)

Rain Man (1988) is also mentioned in mino's review of I Am Sam (2001), pearly's review of I Am Sam (2001) and mino's review of The Last Samurai (2003).

"Definitely an excellent film. Definitely." - a review by andy-j

Charlie Babbett (Tom Cruise) is a selfish money-driven young yuppie who runs a business importing expensive cars. In his teenage years, he had a falling out with his father and lost all contact with him. When his father dies, he is left only a car and some rosebushes from the three million dollar estate. Enraged, Charlie discovers that the bulk of his father's fortune has gone to a brother that Charlie never knew existed - Raymond Babbett (Dustin Hoffman). Raymond is an autistic savant, a person who exists in their own world and who has little understanding of the world around them. He sort of resembles a robotic obsessive compulsive, possessing quirky habits and living by strict unbendable rules and schedules. For example, he needs 8 fish sticks for his lunch on Wednesday and he will only wear unwear bought from a specific K-Mart store. He absolutely cannot miss his favourite TV shows (which he documents) without having a panic attack. At the same time, Raymond has a photographic memory - he remembers absolutely everything he reads, and can also do complex calculations in his head.

Charlie is so angry that his father's estate is being "wasted" by Raymond (who has no need for three million dollars) that he abducts his brother, threatening the institution that housed him with legal action if he doesn't get his share. They embark on a three day drive to LA, a journey that tests Charlie's very short patience to the limits. But as he gets to know Raymond more, Charlie uncovers some secrets from his past and is forced him to re-examine his own priorities.

The one thing that really stands out about Rain Man is the acting. Both Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise are absolutely brilliant. Hoffman particularly, is utterly convincing, depicting Raymond with such accuracy and warmth that I completely forgot that he was an actor. Cruise is at his best, portraying Charlie with sensitivity and depth - you get a real sense of a what a prick he is, but you can see exactly where it comes from and why he is the way he is. The script itself is excellent, with plenty of humourous moments (Hoffman takes wonderful advantage of it), while allowing for some very believable character development for Charlie (which Cruise handles very smoothly). Much of it focuses on the relationship between the brothers and the emotional journey Charlie, and, to some degree, Raymond, go on. It gradually reveals more and more about the very unique Raymond, until you get a really good appreciation of him and develop a fondness for him. As well as this, there is a well-rounded, very satisfying ending.

I first saw Rain Man at the cinema when I was about 12. I loved it then, and I love it now, but in a completely different way. It is drama at its absolute best - mature, unique, touching, humourous and compelling to watch. Brilliant.

andy-j gives this movie 10 out of 10.
Review created on Tue 9 Dec 2003

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