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
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.
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.
on January 24, 2015
I have loved this movie always, since first seeing it when it debuted in the theaters in 1988. I believe it is an all-time great movie, with two Hollywood heavyweights in Hoffman and Cruise starring, a good supporting cast, a great story (somewhat of a tear-jerker, too), fine acting, all resulting in one of the very best films of the 1980s, and among the best of all time. This review will focus on the quality of the blu-ray disc, and in particular, the picture quality.
Having owned the initial blu-ray (which was released only 4 years earlier), and having been happy with the picture quality apart from several grainy scenes in the first 15 minutes, I was looking forward to the 25th anniversary so-called remastered version, expecting amazing picture quality. I compared the two blu-rays head to head on my 2-year-old 55-inch high definition TV, using a new Sony Blu ray player.
Now, these two blu-ray discs offer the exact same features; there is nothing new for the 25th anniversary version other than the fact that it has a basic, still photo (which is quite grainy!) for the main menu, whereas the older Blu ray doesn't even have that, but instead, four buttons that rise from the bottom of the picture when you click "top menu." The old version comes off as being sort of cheap. The new version, unfortunately, seems virtually no better.
Sadly, the picture quality of the 25th anniversary remastered version, for most of this 2 hour 14 minute movie, appears to be 97% identical to the picture quality of the older Blu-ray, so calling this a "remaster" is incredibly misleading, even if somehow, technically, it may be true. Most remastered Blu rays are a substantial step up when compared with a previous version, even more than a remastered DVD is an improvement versus a previous DVD. But, for "Rain Man," I can see a little bit more sharpness and clarity in the scene about 13 minutes into the film where the attorney reads the will to Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise). Otherwise, other grainy scenes in that first 15 minutes are barely less grainy in the remastered Blu ray, and I'm talking about just a 2-3 percent difference. Frankly, again, I thought the picture quality in the older blu-ray was excellent, considering this was a 1988 film, for most of that Blu Ray, apart from the grainier scenes in the first 15 minutes, where there is varying picture quality from scene to scene. But, the newer blu-ray barely changes those grainy scenes, and virtually all of the rest of the movie after the first 15 minutes appears identical in picture quality between the two blu rays. The parts after the first 15 minutes are generally a nice, sharp HD picture-- in both the old and new blu rays.
The 25th anniversary blu-ray, unlike the earlier one, has an annoying feature-- a bar that pops up in the middle of the screen when one jumps from scene to scene, fast forwards or rewinds, or even freezes the picture. This light blue bar appears all the way across the screen, and it is also fairly high, from top to bottom, meaning that it blocks out much of the picture. All this so as to only show a tiny thumbnail picture of the scene in the middle of this bar, and really tiny numerals for the elapsed hours, minutes, and seconds for the particular point of the movie that you have reached. It takes a few seconds for this bar to go away once you go back to playing the picture at normal speed. The older Blu ray does not have this annoying feature.
As their special features are identical, I would really advise just going with the Blu ray that is less expensive. If you are somewhat of a perfectionist, as I am, you should go with the remastered version, but be prepared to see that menu which itself is incredibly grainy. I've never seen such a grainy photo used in a blu ray's menu! With the 25th anniversary remastered version, where the picture quality differs from the older version, and this is barely so, and in only a few early scenes, then the newer version is slightly better, but really just because it reduces the graininess slightly. Don't expect improved flesh tones and/or an improved color palette, a more vivid picture, greater sharpness, or anything like that. Don't dare to think that the newer Blu ray is going to be a vast improvement over the old blu-ray, as is usually the case, it's just not so for this great film.
As even the first Blu ray displayed excellent high-definition picture quality, considering the age of the film, except for those few early, grainy scenes, I recommend purchase of either of these Blu-rays. This is simply a wonderful film which has mass appeal, and others here have done a good job of describing the greatness of the performances and of the story.
Basically, the older blu-ray was fine, if a little bit of a cheap effort what with virtually no menu, and the newer blu-ray is really misleading in being called "remastered," when I can barely see any difference, and only in some scenes in the first 15 minutes. The amount of offerings on this blu ray disc, also, appears to be cheap at first, which is sad. But, the picture quality is solidly good HD, the featurette about the making of the movie is plenty interesting, there are two different audio commentaries, and any fan of this movie will be glad he or she purchased this Blu ray.
on January 22, 2015
I've always wanted to see this since I started out doing autism research. I remembered watching parts of it on Youtube. I heard it was a sad movie. I first rented this movie on July 21st 2012. A few years before that I remembered seeing it on TV on the TCM channel. Then I rented it at the Natrona County Public Library and finally got to watch the parts that I liked most. A voice inside my head on January 21st 2015: "Dinner's at 6:30 PM." and I said "Not always." Then as I was about to enter Metro Coffee Co., I then heard "Lunch is 12:30." Then that's when I realized that I liked flexible schedules. I consider myself an Autism Researcher comparing how other kids and adults function to how I function. I'm good at basic math but not science math or algebra. In fact I even get surprised to hear that people I admire get diagnosed with Aspergers or Autism like Temple Grandin and Dan Aykroyd. Even historical figures. At the age of 6, I used 1/4 of my brain to understand what's going on. Now I'm smarter than most adults. If I was in a movie that has to deal with autism, I would bring it down the house. I don't eat with toothpicks when I eat something or carry them with me (except when I eat appetizers at a party or special event and when trying to get food out of my mouth.) Unlike Raymond, I deal with airplane flights and going through airports to catch the next flight (even when flying 12 hours halfway around the world.) I'm just so blessed. When Raymond was reading the telephone book, I thought about what mummy said to me and she said that it's perseverating. No average person would study phone numbers off of a phone book (in my humble opinion.) I recently watched a scene where Raymond told Charlie that he's not wearing his underwear and the fact he picks boxer shorts at K-mart in Cincinnati. Unlike Raymond, whenever I run out of underwear or if there was a problem, I don't go back to Casper to pick up them up at Target or any store that sells them. And when Raymond stopped in the middle of the road when the "Don't walk" sign was lit, he could've gotten into a wreck and died. Whenever Charlienor another person ask any question, Raymond rarely never says no. He would often reply "Yeah." Or "I don't know." When a doctor asks Raymond "Are you autistic?" I would reply "Yes. I have autism."
on July 23, 2014
I resisted watching this movie for years because my son is high-functioning autistic. As I expected, there are a lot of "triggers" and parts of the movie really upset me. I'm glad my son functions better than Raymond does. The main character however is played by Tom Cruise and he sure can play the role of a jerk well. Wonder why that is. The transformation of this jerk character into someone who cares about his brother more than money is not very believable in my opinion. A jerk usually stays a jerk, no matter how many excuses are made for him. (Jo Dee Messina got it right: "You can say you've got issues, you can say you're a victim, it's all your parents' fault, I mean after all you didn't pick em, Maybe somebody else has got time to listen; My give a damn's busted.") The movie got it right in their depictions of how other people react to autistic spectrum behaviors. The casino thing is completely unbelievable because casinos are so overstimulating that normal people can hardly handle it, let alone someone as sensitive as Raymond clearly had to be. Anyway, my son watched it too but I can't see that it helped him in any way. He will never understand why other people are taken aback by someone who is different. That is part of the problem, right? This is William's wife. He didn't watch this movie with us.
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.
Tom Cruise plays a rather greedy, entitled, and self-centered man who views money as the be all and end all. So when he finds out that much of his father’s estate goes to care for his developmentally disabled brother Raymond or Rain Man, he sets out to get him released from the institution where he currently lives and into his care, so that he can get his hands on the old man’s money.
This movie raised a lot of intriguing questions particularly for me as a person with a disability. Such as: Who gets to decide what is best for those who are clearly not able to decide for themselves? Even more intriguing was the idea that Rain Man, even as disabled as he was, still had value and worth to someone and that is a message that really needs to be spread throughout the disabled community with the challenges we still face. I appreciated this movie’s ability to make this viewer think about things through sober eyes.
This is a very powerful story and if it does not tug at your heart strings, you must be made of stone.
on May 19, 2015
My husband absolutely insisted that I see this movie when he found out that I had never seen it. It was pretty good with some funny parts and some sentimental. The downside, I am NOT a Tom Cruise fan, however Dustin Hoffman was simply amazing.
on October 24, 2014
Rain Man is a 1988 American comedy-drama film directed by Barry Levinson and written by Barry Morrow and Ronald Bass. It tells the story of an abrasive and selfish yuppie, Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise), who discovers that his estranged father has died and bequeathed all of his multimillion-dollar estate to his other son, Raymond (Dustin Hoffman), an autistic savant, of whose existence Charlie was unaware.
In addition to the two leads, Valeria Golino stars as Charlie's girlfriend, Susanna. Morrow created the character of Raymond after meeting Kim Peek, a real-life savant; his characterization was based on both Peek and Bill Sackter, a good friend of Morrow who was the subject of Bill, an earlier film that Morrow wrote. Rain Man received overwhelmingly positive reviews at the time of its release, praising Hoffman's role and the wit and sophistication of the screenplay.
The film won four Oscars at the 61st Academy Awards (March 1989), including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, and Best Actor in a Leading Role for Hoffman. Its crew received an additional four nominations. The film also won the Golden Bear at the 39th Berlin International Film Festival.
Rain Man quickly makes the main character unlikable in this Film which in turn makes things intriguing and the first portion of the film is outstanding in comparison with many films,things get interesting and refreshing fast.The pace does not let up easily towards the middle of the Movie as the plot unravels it's many twist's.The ending was so dramatic it felt like a edge of your seat thriller conclusion and i found the ending to have a very mutual and original way of closing this well made film.
Dustin Hoffman performance really shines when it shows the constantly evolving chemistry with him and Tom Cruise.Tom Cruise makes use of his time in this film masterfully and shows why he is one the best Actors of all time.I felt valeria Golino performance to be lacking when she's upset or disappointed she does not seem as good or effective as possible,she is kind of lacking in energy some of the time here.
Character development is another one of the strong points in the Movie the character charlie clearly needs to change and the movie does a superb job of displaying that.The chemistry between the character Raymond and his brother charlie has some weak moments,but that is permissible in this case,because so much of the film focuses on the two,however overall the evolving relationship between the two is riveting.The same could be said about the love interest of the Movie,the character Susanna although not as active as others in the Film is put to good use when she is around.