Rain Man (1988) – Review

After the unexpected death of his father, Charlie Babbit (Tom Cruise) returns home to Cincinnati to try and capture the three-million-dollar fortune left in his father’s will. Unbeknownst to Charlie however, the money has actually been left to the mental institution that houses Raymond Babbit (Dustin Hoffman), the estranged sibling of Charlie. Motivated highly by his father’s money, Charlie checks Raymond out of the facility and the pair embark on a journey that may alter both of their lives. A great film that still manages to stand the test of time, despite being released over thirty years ago.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Director: Barry Levinson
Writers: Barry Marrow, Ron Bass
Starring: Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman, Valeria Golino

Winner of four different Academy Awards in 1989 and nominated for four others, Rain Main is an excellently crafted drama that manages to provide not only great acting performances over the course of its one-hundred and thirty-three minute runtime but also deliver the serious subject of autism to its viewing audiences. With the filmmakers giving autism such publicity in 1988, the flick with any luck helped to lessen the stigma brought on to those with this condition. Even today in August of 2022, the film does a solid job of providing key insight into the condition.

The filmmakers not only explore the subject of autism, but they also dive into the issue of relationships between people – more specifically the relationships between brothers. Over the course of the picture, the changes in relationship between the two main characters are subtle, done primarily through genuine character development and character interaction, using witty and effective dialogue throughout.

It’s also worth stating how easy on the eye the film was. Released in 1988, it managed to capture America in its full glory, with various noteworthy filming locations on display – California, Oklahoma, Kentucky, Ohio and Nevada just to name a few. There was also a significant score too, with Rain Man being Hans Zimmer’s first score for a Hollywood production.

In terms of the acting, Charlie Babbit was portrayed by Tom Cruise while Dustin Hoffman adopted the role of Raymond Babbit. Both performances were noteworthy and a key reason for the films huge success and longevity even until this day. It’s worth noting too that Dustin Hoffman spent an entire year working with autistic men and their families to understand their complex relationships in preparation for this role.

All in all, Rain Man still stands up today as being a more than watchable film from the 1980’s and is certainly one I’d recommend for people to watch. One minor gripe would be the long runtime, this could have been trimmed down slightly but ultimately speaking, that doesn’t take much away from the film.

“I’m an excellent driver.”

Raymond Babbit – Rain Man


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