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1988: Rain Man

You're my brother

Image by kairin via Flickr

Taking the place for 1988 in Monumental Movies, is Rain Man, which follows the story of arrogant car dealer, Charlie Babbit (Tom Cruise), and his unexpected, severely autistic, yet savant brother, Raymond (Dustin Hoffman). Charlie’s life seems to be going swimmingly, until his father dies, and he learns that a sum of $3,000,000 will not be left to him, but his brother of which he was unaware he had, Raymond. Extremely pissed off Charlie, having learnt of his brother, goes to visit him, and attempts to take Raymond away from his sheltered  institute to L.A., in the hope that he will be able to obtain this massive inheritance.

However, things don’t go as planned, as Raymond is harder to handle than expected, causing nothing but trouble for Charlie. However, as time goes on and the frustrations die down, Charlie soon becomes used to looking after Raymond, and eventually realises that Raymond was infact his ‘imaginary’ childhood friend who used to sing to him, whom he called Rain Man, and this is probably the main turning point of the movie, at which the emotional, brotherly bond between the two significantly strengthens.

Throughout the journey Charlie and Raymond embark on, Charlie soon comes to realise that Raymond, although severely mentally disabled, has a unique, rare, and extremely ingenious talent; an incredible mental capacity for numbers and mathematical calculations. Charlie also soon learns that his car company will go bust if he does not acquire a sum of $80,000. Charlie sees Raymond as a beautiful opportunity to use Raymond’s amazing capabilities at a Vegas casino, winning the money. Along the way, Charlie allows Raymond to experience a range of human experiences that he would not have otherwise been able to experience, such as dancing, and being kissed (I don’t mean Hoffman and Cruise kissing, fortunately), helping Raymond to experience a ‘normal’ life.

The movie ends with the battle over whether Charlie is allowed to keep custody of Raymond, or whether he goes back to the institute. Charlie loses the custody, although it’s now clear that he doesn’t care about receiving the money, but was just angry about the about idea of his brother being kept a secret from him. Although Raymond can’t live with Charlie, he assures Raymond that he will visit him regularly.

Rain Man, was one of the, if not the most successful movie of 1988, and once you watch this movie, you can see why. The character of Rain Man is based on a real-life person, and Hoffman portrays this role to an excellent degree, giving the impression that he actually is an autistic savant throughout the whole movie in such a convincing manner, giving the movie a genuine atmosphere. It truly is one of those movies which you forget is actually just a movie whilst watching; it captures you in its great and convincing, realistic atmosphere, with the great acting. Cruise, as usual, also displays great acting skills, beginning as an arrogant, egotistical, to put nicely, prick, who by the end of the movie, shows a great understanding and acceptance of his brother’s disability, with a great emotional connection between the two characters – yep, it’s one of those movies which gives you a happy feeling at the end of it, even though it isn’t really a ‘happy ending’.

Arguably one of Hoffman’s best performances I’ve seen, and with a good storyline and interesting scenes showing the life of ‘Rain Man’, this is definitely one to watch. So watch it.

By Manpreet Singh

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3 Comments on “1988: Rain Man”

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