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Dustin Hoffman is a 'triumph (People) in an Oscar®-winning* role, and Tom Cruise is 'terrific (ABC Radio) in a film that's fascinating, touching and full of smart surprises' (Newsweek)! Charlie Babbitt (Cruise) has just discovered he has an autistic brother named Raymond (Hoffman) and is now taking him on the ride of his life. Or is it the other way around? From his refusal to drive on major highways to a four minutes to Wapner meltdown at an Oklahoma farmhouse, Raymond first pushes hot-headed Charlie to the limits of his patience and then pulls him completely out of his self-centered world! But what began as an unsentimental journey for the Babbitt brothers becomes much more than the distance between two places it's a connection between two vastly different people and a poignant, profound and powerful film (Joel Siegel, ABC-TV)!
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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.
Another point where realism fails is the way the film regards the money. Charlie thinks Raymond will be rich for inheriting the three million. Very few families could in reality afford anything like the "Woodbrook" institution where Charlie finds Raymond, and all resources would be quickly depleted in keeping him there. The real dilemna facing modern families would be how to get any services at all for their struggling family member once they reach adulthood and leave school.
Sounds like some original top reviewers of the film felt that Dustin Hoffman's performance was "virtuosic but to little effect" (I think that was Vincent Camby). They felt an amazing portrayal of human behavior was of lesser value if that character did not change or emote visibly in front of us in the dramatic manner and predictable arc to which they are accustomed. I feel that VERY much reflects a certain intolerance, bigotry if you will, of neurodiversity. I think it's wrong and unobservant to state that Raymond did not change, its just that his changes were kept understated and internal, which Dustin Hoffman deserves all accolades for staying true to character with. Tom Cruise as well was ideally cast and the chemistry between the two was just excellent. Apparently the two of them worked on it together for over two years, and it shows. I think it's an amazing, almost perfect, very moving film.
RAIN MAN won several Academy Awards for this touching portrayal of two brothers coming to terms with each other. Dustin Hoffman was Best Actor for his role as Raymond. Tom Cruise is the materialistic young brother devasted and angered not only by the news of an older brother but the fact their recently departed father has left his estate to Raymond.
Charlie is bitter and a player in a big man's world. He needs money and Raymond's inheritance is his future. He takes Raymond on a cross country trip but he is out for a big lesson in life and brotherly love. Raymond is very childlike and dependent on his routine. Lights out at 11 pm sharp, eating food with toothpicks and knowing exactly when PEOPLE'S COURT and WHEEL OF FORTUNE are on TV. Charlie has no patience or understanding for Raymond's simple needs and reliance on repetition. When Charlie learns Raymond's amazing mathematical skills and memory, it is time to stop off in Las Vegas.
I've heard from firsthand sources that Dustin Hoffman researched his role with dedication and spent time with austic savants to learn their mannerisms and reactions. Hoffman shows his amazing talents and clearly deserved his Best Actor award. We have a young Tom Cruise just a few years into his acting career taking on a very serious role. Although he is "normal", Cruise's Charlie is far more immature in many ways than his autistic brother. There is a true beauty in this film as we see Charlie grow and mature in front of our eyes. A nurturing instinct is slowly arises as he develops a clear affection for his brother Raymond.
It's a bittersweet and heartwarming story to watch. Two very different brothers come together in a very fine film.