Movie Review: Rain Man

Note: I don’t usually write full reviews of older movies, but this was an option to review in my film theory/criticism course so I decided to post it here as well.  Plus, it is one of my all-time favorites.  Enjoy.

A wonderful testament to the enduring bond of brotherhood, Rain Man is a rare film that combines a profoundly inspiring message with sheer entertainment value.

Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) is a self-centered businessman who has just learned that his estranged father has died and his $3 million inheritance was willed to a brother he didn’t even know he had.  Charlie decides to kidnap his brother Raymond, an autistic savant, from his institutional home.  What ensues is a road adventure filled with discovery and maturation.

Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise in "Rain Man"

Hoffman has received all the accolades, and deservedly so, for his portrayal of an easily rattled man who lives in his own world, but the movie wouldn’t have worked without Cruise’s brilliant performance as the film’s true lead.  He is the one who undergoes the big personal change throughout the course of the film.  Cruise has come a long way since Risky Business and Top Gun, showing some dynamic range here as he is forced to wrestle between his old, selfish priorities and his new ones as a brother.

The scenery is beautiful, and their travels are set to a fun soundtrack.  The dialogue between Hoffman and Cruise is always priceless and memorable as Charlie tries to understand how Raymond can perform complex mathematical calculations in his head but can’t comprehend simple concepts like the value of money.  Charlie is constantly working around his brother’s little quirks and his devotion to his everyday routine.  Raymond will only fly with Qantas, only wears underwear from Kmart, and missing an episode of The People’s Court is out of the question.

Rain Man is an endearing classic that deserves to be watched over and over again.  Kmart still hasn’t fully recovered.

Rating: 10/10

RIYL: One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, The Last Picture Show.


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