Review of Rain Man

Rain Man (1988)
A lovely movie for so many reasons
17 August 2015
Have just watched this again after many years. A really good movie.

By now Rain Man is a time capsule for the acquisitive thrusting 1980's - and it is great to watch simply to see how films were made back then, what they looked like and how they told their stories. This film reminded me of the movie Wall Street - with Gordon Gekko as the greedy badie. Cruise is on that spectrum, greedy, mean and selfish. Gekko has no redemption, but Rain Man is, slowly but surely Cruise's redemption. It's fine to see it unfolding.

In a believable way, Cruise (Charlie Babbitt) slowly comes to terms with the facts that a) he has an older brother, Hoffman (Raymond Babbitt) that he never knew he had (thus compounding his contempt for his now deceased father), and b) his Autistic brother has really profound needs, but exceptional gifts. Cruise is the dynamic part of the pairing and gives an excellent performance going through shock, denial but eventually acceptance of the new realities. In return, Raymond slowly undergoes subtle changes in response to his brother Charlie and the experience of the road trip - in small ways he does learn to relate to Charlie and he acquires skills that he would not have acquired had he stayed forever in the Home. It's delightful to see the brothers slowly come to accept each other in their own ways.

By today's standards Rain Man is a slow movie lacking in polish glitz and refinement. It's dated in the way it looks and the way it tells it's story - but I like it for that. Rain Man is also a forgotten movie, for some reason. This is a great shame as it is a really good film, with Cruise showing strongly. It is also a complete tour de force by Hoffman - who gives arguably his finest ever performance rightfully collecting the Best Actor Oscar.

So - watch Rain Man - a lovely movie for so many reasons.
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