93 of 102 people found the following review helpful
on March 15, 2004
Have you ever had to communicate with someone on a different wavelength as you; for example because he speaks a foreign language and you don't have an interpreter, or because he is unable to communicate verbally at all, or maybe just because you keep misunderstanding each other? If so, you know what a frustrating experience it is to have virtually no control over the situation and over making sure that you're actually understood. And in precisely this situation finds himself Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise), personification of the 1980s' yuppie, a used car dealer with major money problems whose only - tentative - personal attachment is to his current girlfriend Susanna (Valeria Golino). Because having learned that except for a few rosebushes and a vintage 1949 Buick Roadmaster his recently-deceased father has left virtually all of his considerable fortune to his autistic brother Raymond (Dustin Hoffman) - a brother he didn't even know he had - Charlie decides to kidnap Raymond from the Cincinnati facility where he lives, take him to California, and demand half the inheritance in exchange for his brother's return.
Now, Charlie isn't the greatest communicator himself; at least as far as listening goes; he is used to talking people down, and if that alone doesn't do the trick, he starts to yell. This, however, just doesn't work with Raymond, who lives in a world of his own and, unable to express emotion in any other way, falls into a nervous tic when feeling threatened. So for the first time in his life Charlie has to learn to accept another human being for what he is, and work *with* his bewildering methods of communication rather than against them. And subtly, very subtly, Charlie begins to change, until at last he no longer wants to relinquish custody of Raymond even after having been offered a substantial amount of money: because now money is no longer an issue at all; now it's all about genuine love for a newly-found brother and very special person.
"Rain Man" is ostensibly told from Charlie's perspective; through his, the "normal" guy's eyes we perceive Raymond's habits, tics and strange behavioral code. And even if Charlie is easy enough to snub for his superficiality and materialism, his frustration at his inability to communicate with his brother feels genuine and is something we can empathize with(albeit perhaps inadmittedly). Tom Cruise plays Charlie with a finely-tuned mix of audacity and reluctant emotion; turning a role that seems to start out as just another Cruise cliche into a character who hesitantly comes to realize his own complexities and shortcomings and learns to appreciate sensitivity, compassion and love - yet, without ever taking the role that treacherous step too far into sentimentality.
Still, important as Charlie's character is for this movie's narrative, this is from first to last Raymond's story; and by the same token Dustin Hoffman's, because the two individuals are in fact inseparable: As Hoffman once explained in an interview, he rejects the notion that acting is merely about playing a role, or that the term "my character" could ever appropriately describe his approach to a role; emphasizing that in every part he plays, he truly has to *become* the individual in question to fully be able to understand and portray him. As such, his achievement with Raymond Babbitt is breathtaking indeed; for in a role which not only imposes severe limitations on his ability to communicate traditionally but also gives him virtually no opportunity to express emotion, he conveys Raymond's frailties, unexpected strengths and, significantly, his profound humanity in a manner that lets you forget you're even looking at a piece of acting, thus accomplishing that rare feat only attained by the greatest of actors - and even among Dustin Hoffman's spectacular performances, this one stands out in particular. (He did, of course, win both the Oscar and the Golden Globe for this movie; but somehow even the industry's highest awards don't begin to express the significance of his achievement.)
Raymond Babbitt's character was based on several real-life autistic persons; and at a time when little was known about the condition even in the medical community, contributed substantially to a greater understanding of those afflicted with it. Not all autistic people are so-called "savants" like Raymond, i.e. possess genial mathematic or other abilities within the shell separating them from the outside world (and conversely, not with all of them that shell is as thick as in Raymond's case; although intricate routines do tend to play a rather important role) - so don't go rushing off with them to Vegas for an exercise in "counting cards," at least not before you've verified that they can memorize entire phone books (at least up to the letter "G"), count the toothpicks in a pile on the floor with one glimpse of an eye and determine the square root of a four- or five-digit number within a matter of seconds without so much as looking at an electronic calculator. Chances are you'd do them tremendous harm, not to mention make a complete fool of yourself.
Dustin Hoffman reportedly fought hard for this movie's production even after several directors (including, inter alia, Stephen Spielberg) had bowed out; and in one of those rare un-Hollywood-like moments even managed to maintain the movie's sense of authenticity up to the very end by prevailing on the writers to drop the projected ending, which would have had Raymond staying with Charlie. - In addition to Hoffman's awards, "Rain Man" received the coveted Oscars for Best Movie, Best Original Screenplay and Best Director (Barry Levinson, who also played the psychiatrist called upon to evaluate whether Raymond is fit to stay with Charlie), plus a number of other American and international awards. For once, the industry collectively got it right. But even if this movie hadn't received a single award, it would still remain one of recent film history's greatest and truly unforgettable moments - definitely, it would.
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time
Ten Things Every Child with Autism Wishes You Knew
The Graduate (40th Anniversary Collector's Edition)
The Color of Money
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Barry Levinson's name is well-known these days mostly as a producer but he has directed a good number of films that people are familiar with. Films such as "Sphere", "Wag the Dog", "Sleepers", "Bugsy", "Toys", "Avalon", "Good Morning Vietnam", "Diner" to name a few. But for one film, Levinson earned his Oscar and that was in 1988 for "Rain Man". A story by Barry Morrow and a screenplay co-written by Morrow and Ronald Bass ("Snow Falling on Cedars", "Step Mom", "My Best Friend's Wedding", "Entrapment", "What Dreams May Come"), the film would also bring together America's top male actors Dustin Hoffman ("Tootsie", "Kramer vs. Kramer", "Ishtar") and Tom Cruise ("Top Gun", "Cocktail", "Risky Business", "The Color of Money").
The film which was budgeted at $25 million, earned over $354 million (the film was the highest grossing film of 1988) and would win four Academy awards including "Best Director", "Best Picture", "Best Writing, Original Screenplay" and a "Best Actor in a Leading Role" for Dustin Hoffman.
"Rain Man" is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:85:1 widescreen). First, its important for me to remind everyone that this is a 1988 film and I've always had the opinion that many films from the '80s tend to have this aged look and sometimes appearances look soft. While for "Rain Man", the film does show its age in terms of film stock used, this is the best looking version of the film to date.
There is a good amount of grain in this film but there is much more detail and edge enhancement can be seen at times. If anything, the clarity and detail is much more evident in the Blu-ray release and there appears to be some noise reduction utilized as there are some moments of softness. I did see banding in probably two moments of the film where there was high-reds and pinks. It's a few-seconds scene but other than that, there are times where the picture quality looked very good and you can see the skin pigments on the skin.
Otherwise, if you love the film, "Rain Man" on Blu-ray looks better than its DVD counterparts.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
"Rain Man" is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Spanish Mono and French Dolby Surround. While "Rain Man" has always been a dialogue-driven film, it also sports a solid musical soundtrack by Hans Zimmer. If anything, you do hear some ambiance at times but for the most part, this is a center and front-channel driven lossless soundtrack with mostly instruments utilizing the surround channel at times. You do get a scene where you watch Charlie and Raymond driving through a bridge and you can hear the wheels going over the bridge and sound coming through the surround channels but this is pretty much a dialogue-driven film.
Subtitles are presented in English SDH, Spanish and French.
"Rain Man" comes with the following special features in Standard Definition:
* Audio Commentary - Featuring audio commentary by director Barry Levinson
* Audio Commentary - Featuring audio commentary by writer Barry Morrow
* Audio Commentary - Featuring audio commentary by writer Ronald Bass
* The Journey of Rain Man - (22:07) A featurette on the making of "Rain Man" and features interviews with director Barry Levinson and writers Barry Morrow and Ronald Bass.
* Lifting the Fog: A Look at the Mysteries of Autism - (20:13) A featurette about autism and those who are similar to Raymond Babbitt.
* Deleted Scene - (2:13) A deleted scene featuring Raymond at a convenience store (getting into trouble).
* Original Theatrical Trailer - (2:13) Featuring the original theatrical trailer of "Rain Man" in standard definition.
Back in 1988, I was a junior in high school when I watched this film come out. Of course, the film was popular because of Tom Cruise who was the top young actor in Hollywood with the popularity of "Top Gun", "The Color of Money" and "Cocktail", but what stood out for me the most was the performance by Dustin Hoffman, the writing of the film and the character relationship between Charlie and Raymond and it was the first time I heard about autism.
Autism, of course, has been focused a lot more in today's society, may it be on the news or learning about it through television shows, but back then, I've never heard of it and I felt that "Rain Man" did increase public awareness for autism.
If one was to dissect this film, I suppose one can say that it was longer than it should have been and could have been tightened a bit more and keeping the duration much lower. I am aware that film critic Pauline Kael called it "wet kitsch" (which is a word that she tends to use for films that she really dislikes) but after watching this film once again since its release for VHS back in the '90s, my feelings back in the late '80s, to the '90s and now 2011 really hasn't changed all that much.
What I enjoyed about the film is the fact that you get to see Charlie's arrogance directed towards his brother and to see this character change as he becomes more acquainted with his brother. While some may feel the character of Charlie to be repulsive or overly cocky, the performance by Dustin Hoffman is magnificent. The timing of the words and the motions that went into Raymond's character was well-done by Hoffman and I enjoyed how the conflict begins at the beginning and slowly works itself towards the end. Of course, the ending may seem a bit too anti-climactic but for what it's worth, I did not want to see a mushy ending. The ending fits right with Charlie Babbage and everything worked out.
If I had any problems with the film, I still find the scene with Susanna and Raymond in an elevator to be a bit off and as mentioned earlier, there are some scenes that could have been trimmed off to keep the pacing much smoother and the duration not so long.
As for the Blu-ray release, I was hoping for some sort of revisiting special feature and possibly an interview with Tom Cruise or Dustin Hoffman, heck even Barry Levinson. But you do get all the special features from the "Rain Man" 2004 Special Edition DVD and upgraded picture quality and a lossless soundtrack.
Overall, "Rain Man" is still an enjoyable film over 20-years later. While the Blu-ray release may not include anything new compared to its 2004 DVD counterpart, it does look and sound a lot better. So, if you enjoyed "Rain Man" a lot, then I definitely recommend upgrading to Blu-ray.
7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on February 4, 2004
A great movie but mediocre special edition. 1 deleted scene, 3 commentaries, some photos, a 7 minute making off from 1988(mostly scenes from the movie itself) and about 20 'other great MGM titles available' trailers, dvd trailers and dvd covers and that's it basically. MGM seem more interested in self promotion on this disc (the first thing shown is a 10 second MGM promo with scenes from recent DVD releases). This is very annoying. I'd rather just get the movie and the material RELATING to the movie. If I want to know what else is coming out, I'll seek it out myself--it's not that hard. MGM seem to think we won't find out about thier movies unless they tack on this extra unnecessary stuff. This is why I don't rent movies often, being forced to sit through 10 minutes of movie previews or fast forwarding(luckily this disc does not have that but Universal is getting pretty good in that department). A Great movie with great acting but I honestly don't think this should be called a special edition because you slap on a few commentaries a quick deleted scene and an old 7 minute promowhatchamacallit. Also, there is no booklet...! MGM seems to do that a lot with their 'catalog releases'. At least it beats the previous DVD version.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
While I do own the Standard DVD version of this film, this review is not a disc to disc comparison and while the film gets 4 stars from me for the movie, my 4 stars relates only to the actual quality of the transfer from Standard Def to its Blu Ray encode. There are already a great many reviews here providing a summary of the plot, opinions on acting,etc. Therefore, this review's stars will only focus upon the actual quality of the transfer of 'Rain Man' to Blue Ray and not to the excellent quality of the movie itself. By the way, this older film still retains its legs. The Blu Ray version I have has a MGM 90th Anniversary label glued to the actual case of the blu ray. Peek underneath and you will see the original cover, so don't be fooled, this is the original blu ray release and it has not been remastered because of the MGM 40th.
When the film first started a big "OH OH" came to mind as there was a ton of noticeable grain everywhere but especially in the gray backgrounds and scenes where the sky was part of things. For whatever reason the grain reduced as the film moved on. Color grading was warm with a slight saturation of color but nothing that was artificial. Focus tends to be soft throughout the film as this was originally shot on film so you do not have the sharpness of video cameras. Face details tend to be smoothed out a touch and details like hair and the beautiful cinematography of the plains leaves the grass fields a touch blurred out. However, the power of the movie and its characters makes you forget about these small deficiencies. Mbps rates stayed very steady in the mid 30's which was a pleasant surprise. There really were no very deep blacks called for but in a couple of night scenes and I saw no hair, dropouts or other artifacts as the film progressed. I do not think this film was actually remastered for blu ray but for a1988 film, not bad at all.
The lossless DTS HD MA 5.1 soundtrack brought with it a nicely transparent dialogue and proper audio levels. Discreet directionality to the surrounds was primarily limited to pans between the front and rear sound stages as well as some left to right pans. Not many discreet foley fx and almost no use of the LFE sub channel. Never the less, I was surprised at how nicely the audio soundtrack utilized the entire surround system making it nicely immersive. In one scene, the music is actually directed from the rear stage while movement and dialogue remains fixed in the front audio stage. Well done and surprising for such an older film. To be clear, this is not an audio demo disc nor is there a whole lot of discreet usage of your surrounds but for what there is, they did a decent job on it.
EXTRAS...There are a couple of different commentaries as well as a single deleted scene. In addition, there is an interesting doc on how the film came about after going through 4 different directors, a trailer and a doc on Autism which I have not watched yet.
You can't beat the current price for an Academy Award winning film that stays fresh even if Tom Cruise is noticeably younger than he currently appears. Dustin Hoffman would still get an award if this film was released today.
Despite all that, for the price of this disc, which is dirt cheap, you are getting a fine film with a really good transcode to Blu Ray. It is not a demo disc but, so what? Really glad to have this one in my collection.
I do hope that this review, which focused solely upon the quality of the actual transfer to Blu Ray has been of some help to you in deciding your purchase. All of my reviews are of this nature and I hope they can be of HELP to you as well.
Thanks for reading.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
RAIN MAN is an excellent film that came out in 1988 when autism was relatively unknown. Though no one person on the autism spectrum is likely to exhibit all the traits Raymond Babbitt does Dustin Hoffman's portrayal of him is humane and relatively accurate. Tom Cruise is also excellent as Raymond's handsome self absorbed brother, Charlie, and I had almost forgotten what an appealing actor Cruise was as a young man. The plot is not too realistic but the movie is so well acted and the setting as the two men drive from Cincinnati to LA so well realized that it is difficult not to be absorbed in this good hearted film with a message.
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on November 23, 2007
Rain Man is a truly special film that involves two brothers of two totally different worlds,mentally 'n so forth. However,Charlie has this thing where he's all about money even to the point that he tries to play his brother,Raymond,for "a sap." In other words,Charlie is willing to do whatever it takes to get "the lion's share"
of inheritence...money and all!! To me,I'd say that's a shame because it is so sad to have to take advantage of a family member as a pawn in the game...especially if that family member has a mentally or developmentally disorder. I'd hate to think about what would happen if Charlie and Raymond were to never get along yet what Charlie would do to shake the cash out of Raymond's pockets,ya know?
I'm pretty sure that Raymond got "picked on"...did Raymond ever get bullied,mocked,made fun of,etc.
or did he just get left alone with only the burden of his own semi-normal brother(Charlie)with money-hungry out for blood issues just to get some cash on the side?!!
I can only help but wonder on since he lived at Wallbrook
in which I take it,is an adult foster care home or more commonly referred to as an AFC Home but you could only picture the part of if Raymond was in Special Education at one time or another...I bet he was the smartest student if he were a Special Ed. student since it's hardly ever that one comes up to an Autistic individual with so many advanced talents and/or abilities beyond belief!! I'm not disparging Autistic people as a catagory,mind you but I was amazed at Raymond's unique "powers" if you wish to call them "powers." All I have to say in mental terms is: "What a weapon!!" He's ahead of the ball game in his mental abilities on numbers(math),cards,knowledge on
baseball+"Who's On First?" let alone remembering phone numbers+names out of a phone book up to half-way through "G"?!! That's unheard of,if you ask me!!!! Dustin Hoffman has created an inspiration for me.
WHY? Because I have a rare Autistic Spectrum known
as "Asperger's Syndrome" and my abilities are similar to Raymond's in terms of math,games(Video Games+Yu-Gi-Oh!),
numbers(birthdays+phone numbers...not address', though.)
but Rain Man has helped me to somewhat understand Autism but I'm disappointed to know that I can't find any movies with somebody that has "Asperger's Syndrome."
I rented Rain Man a few years ago and my mother watched it with me to help me better understand Autism and the "powers" hidden within. Therefore,being that I have such a rare Autistic Spectum...Rain Man has inspired me to find the "magic" within myself!!
God Bless Rain Man,You'll Always Inspire Autistic Truth!!
13 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on February 20, 2001
I recently watched Rain Man, for what was probably at least the tenth time as it is on television alot. It is one of the best movies of the 1980s', and it has without doubt, one of the best performances ever seen on film. Dustin Hoffman was amazing as Raymond Babbitt, an autistic man, whose younger brother, Charlie, played quite well by Tom Cruise, abducts him from the institution he is in in order to get his share of inheritance money. The character of Charlie is very selfish and greedy, but as the film goes on he changes for the better. He takes Raymond clear across the country by car because Raymond won't fly. Watching this film again made me realize that it is really one of the greatest films I've seen. It's a bittersweet story of brotherly love, dramatic at times, but has a great deal of comedy blended in. This is a film to be cherished for generations. I highly recommend Rain Man. The performances by both Dustin Hoffman, who won the Oscar for best actor(very well deserved!), and Tom Cruise are outstanding. I believe this to be one of the first films that Cruise had a real substantial character with depth to him. Watch Rain Man...you won't be disappointed.
15 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on April 27, 2001
What can you say about a movie that deals with a subject not usually tackled? Of course, there was 1968's CHARLY, starring Cliff Robertson (Best Actor Oscar-winner) and Claire Bloom, that gave us an in-depth look at "special" people, mostly especially, autistic people.
Dustin Hoffman is Raymond Babbitt, the titular character. Tom Cruise, in an excellent role that even impressed me (and I'm not at all a Tom Cruise fan) plays his conniving, selfish brother Charlie Babbitt. Thrown in the mix with them is the beautiful Italian actress Valeria Golino, who plays Cruise's compassionate girlfriend.
You have to love this film! Why? Because of two men, Cruise and Best Actor winner Hoffman (winning his second award since 1979's KRAMER VS. KRAMER). They are what pulls us into their world, and keeps us there until the very end when Charlie sadly puts Raymond on a train back to the sanitorium. (I admit, as a man, I cried repeatedly during this scene -- and still do!) It begins with the death of the brothers' father, a rich man who was estranged from Charlie and never even spoken about Raymond. When he dies, Charlie is given a beautiful 1940s convertible (and his father's prize roses). Upon hearing that this brother of his has inherited their father's fortune, Charlie decides to find him and eventually "kidnap" him.
His greedy selfishness is obvious from the first scene of the film. Eventually, his girlfriend has enough of this and leaves him alone with his brother. (She eventually comes back to him in Las Vegas.) During their cross-country journey, Charlie realizes how important having a brother is, citing that he always felt alone and that how happy he was to know that Raymond was his brother. Beautiful and human, yet not too sappy and saccharine! Even though Charlie proves to have an alterior motive for Raymond, you can't help but like the character (since he does provide some laughs). Cruise eventually plays the same character in 1996's JERRY MAGUIRE.
And, of course, there's Hoffman! Virtually stealing every scene he is in. From his quips: "I'm an excellent driver" to his Abbott & Costello "Who's on First" bit, you can't help but fall in love with this silly, but poignant character. What also clinches the tears for me, other than the departing scene on the train, are the end credits. Yes, that's right, the credits! Here's why. Even notice that Raymond is taking pictures? If you do, then you should know that those are the pictures taken in the end credits. We're actually SEEING what Raymond is seeing; that, in itself, is heartbreaking! Think about that!
And to the director, Barry Levinson, who would soon give us 1990's DINER and 1991's Oscar-nominated BUGSY, for showing us that even a family/buddy/road movie like this doesn't have to be an epic to win Best Picture.
My hat's off to Barry Morrow and Ronald Bass for creating such a wonderful script! Bravo, gentlemen, you deserve it!
RAIN MAN was the winner of 4 Academy Awards in 1988 for: Best Picture - Mark Gordon, producer; Best Director - Barry Levinson; Best Actor - Dustin Hoffman; and Best Original Screenplay - Ronald Bass and Barry Morrow.
RUNNING TIME: 2 HOURS, 14 MINUTES.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on September 3, 2006
I compared the widescreen with the pan & scan version which of both are on this disc and the "widescreen" is pan and scan with black bars on top and bottom masqaradeing as widescreen giving you even less of the original films panaramic view.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on October 3, 2013
Many individuals who are on the autism spectrum or who have loved ones think this movie is stigmatizing individuals on the spectrum. It is not and let me explain why:
First of all, savant type ASD individuals are very very rare, but I have met a child who memorizes all license plates on his street during one walk on that street. So, it is true, there are people like Raymond. 1 in a billion but there are.
Secondly, people miss an important point because the movie is Charlie's story, not Raymond's. Charlie changes visibly in this movie, but Raymond does, too. After years of seclusion in an institution, Raymond relates to his brother and can show that he cares about him (end of the movie and bath-tub scene among others). Charlie actually is the only person who can see that Raymond is more than what he seems socially, because he accepts him with his differences. That is why Raymond can relate to him.
So, this is a love story in the making and a heroic one for that matter. It is a love story where two brothers win over obstacles (Raymond's autistic traits).