Every so often a film comes along that perfectly encapsulates everything I love about movies, and reminds me why I fell in love with them in the first place. Rain Man is one of those films.
Directed by Barry Winslow (who won Best Director for this in 1988), Rain Man follows young Charlie Babbitt, an arrogant car salesman who’s only love in life is money. But when he finds out his uncaring father is dead, and that the only thing he got in the will is a used car and a flower orchard, he becomes furious.
And when he discovers that his father left his estate, three-million dollars worth, to his other son, an autistic savant named Raymond, Charlie becomes even more angry not only because he feels slighted, but because he never even knew he had a brother. Much less that he had a mental disorder.
Determined to gain custody over his brother in order to gain possession of his three-million dollars worth of inheritance, Charlie ‘kidnaps’ his brother and decides to bring him back to Los Angeles with him.
As Charlie attempts to bring Raymond from Cincinnati to Los Angeles, he begins to realize that the extent of his brother’s condition is much more than he could’ve expected. While Raymond is high-functioning, his compulsions and obsessions prove to be more of a challenge for Charlie to deal with than he initially expected.
This is, at its core, a story of brothers finding each other; of a family coming back together after decades of separation. It will touch your heart in ways you didn’t expect, move you in ways you didn’t think possible, and make you laugh more than you thought you could during a drama such as this.
So much credit has to be given to not only the writers of the script, but to the actors themselves. If you’ve ever thought Tom Cruise was a two-dimensional actor, then I instruct you to watch this movie. Simply said, he’s brilliant.
I never thought I could be this impressed with this acting skills, but his performance here is just amazing. He gives such life to Charlie, that, even though he can be a jerk, you continually find yourself relating to his struggle, and cheering him on as he finally begins to appreciate his brother for who he is. He’s so good here, that I wonder why he hasn’t pursued more similar roles in recent times.
However, as good as Cruise is, it’s Dustin Hoffman who steals the show. I don’t know how he did it, but he absolutely nailed his role. From the way he holds his head, to his posture, his line delivery, heck, even his freaking eye movement is so spot-on, that you almost forget Hoffman isn’t autistic himself.
Raymond is sincere but troubled, and much like Charlie, you find yourself falling in love with him. His quirks, his obsessions, his demeanor, it all endears him to you, so much in fact, that you’ll find yourself tearing up whenever he and Charlie share a particularly special moment.
I can’t applaud Hoffman enough for his performance here. Never before have I seen an actor so totally become his character. He deserves all the awards he won, and I hope his performance here lives on to be known as one of the best ever seen in the movie industry.
I love everything about this movie. The story is touching, moving, and so unique that it won’t be soon forgotten. The directing is top-notch, and brilliantly captures the many nuances of the characters, and the actors themselves are so good, you’ll have trouble seeing both Cruise and Hoffman as anyone other than Charlie and Raymond Babbitt.
Masterfully written, directed, and acted, Rain Man succeeds in every conceivable way, and has already become one of my favorite films I’ve ever seen. It’s a story everyone should experience, and one I will never, ever forget.