Rain Man (1988)

rain man 1988 movie poster
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 9/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great cast, script, and look


Movie Info

Movie Name:  Rain Man

Studio:  Star Partners II, Ltd.

Genre(s):  Drama/Comedy

Release Date(s):  December 16, 1988

MPAA Rating:  R


Oh yeah…we look good!

Charlie Babbitt (Dustin Hoffman) is a man on the verge of a make-or-break deal and and the death of his estranged father couldn’t come at a worse time.  Travelling home to Cincinnati, Charlie learns that someone in an institution has inherited his father’s fortune…and Charlie learns he has a brother named Raymond (Dustin Hoffman).  Raymond is an autistic savant and trapped in his own world.  When Charlie decides he deserves a share of Raymond’s inheritance, he kidnaps Raymond from the institute.  Forced to drive cross-country, Charlie is about to find that his relationship with Raymond is deeper than he believed.


I’m an excellent driver…

Directed by Barry Levinson, Rain Man was a drama-comedy that was one of the first movies to take a look at autism.  The critically acclaimed movie also was a financial success partially due to Tom Cruise’s rising star.  The movie won Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Hoffman), and Best Original Screenplay with nominations for Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction-Set Decoration, Best Film Editing, and Best Original Score.

Rain Man was a different movie.  At the time autism was something that was kind of unexplored and the idea of the “star with a handicapped” was just beginning to be an award winning role.  With a great cast, a good look, and a surprisingly touching story with laughs, Rain Man was a good movie that has maintained over the years.


Quit telling me about Scientology

The basic story is a brother story and the transformation of a man.  Cruise’s character is on a journey which he believes is with his brother.  The difference is that while one person is changing (Cruise), Raymond is stuck in an unchanging world.  The story isn’t going to have a happy ending…Raymond isn’t going to get better, but Cruise doesn’t see that and that is almost tragic since Cruise is getting closer to him.

The cast for the movie is great.  Obviously, Dustin Hoffman steals the show as the autistic Raymond.  It is obvious that Hoffman studied those with autism to get his role down and his time delivers not only laughs but real touching moments.  I also feel that Cruise is a bit overshadowed in the film and deserves some credit.  His attitude and suave style was new (the “Tom Cruise smile” was still a new thing).  He does show some range by the end of the film.  The third star (and usually uncredited) star of the film is Valeria Golino as Cruise’s off-and-on girlfriend who has a great moment with Hoffman in an elevator scene.


You upstage me one more time, Hoffman….

The movie is shot in a pretty standard format, but still has some great looking scenes of Americana.  The movie has a prominent visit to Las Vegas and it is always to watch Las Vegas’ transformation over the years to the monster it is now…and you can see the seeds of that transformation in Rain Man (and also seems like a horrible idea for someone who can be overwhelmed by outside stimulation).

Rain Man is a more popular choice for Best Picture.  It wasn’t an art picture but it still had a nice story and it wasn’t entirely mainstream in its telling.  The movie holds up despite the dated looks because it’s theme of family is honest and real.  The movie did a lot to bring attention to autism (though it also confused the issue due to the fact it left people thinking everyone with autism was a savant).  There are better Best Pictures than Rain Man, but not all of them have the same charm.

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Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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