Release Year: 1988
Director: Barry Levinson
Writers: Ronald Bass (screenplay), Barry morrow (screenplay & story)
Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Golino, Gerald K. Molen, Jack Murdoch, Michael D. Roberts, Ralph Seymour, Bonny Hunt
Rating: Won 4 Oscars: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Dustin Hoffman), Best Original Screenplay. Nominated for 4 Oscars: Best Cinematopgraphy, Best Art Direction, Best Editing, Best Score. Won 2 Golde Globes: Best Motion Picture – Drama, Best Actor – Drama (Dustin Hoffman). Nominated 2 Golden Globes: Best Director, Best Screenplay.
Selfish yuppie Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) needs a large influx of capital to save his business and considers himself lucky when his estranged father dies. But it turns out that his father left pittance to him and the bulk of his fortune to Raymond (Dustin Hoffman), the autistic brother Charlie didn’t know he had. He abduct his brother from his institutional home in order to get a better bargain from himself and the two of them set out on a road trip across the country.
Rain Man is one of those films that are often overshadowed by Dustin Hoffman’s signature performance as the savant Raymond, but the film has actually have two great performances at its centre. Cruise’s Charlie Babbitt is about as unlikable as a young 1980’s yuppie can be, but he instantly wedges a way into our sympathies. Charlie is obviously completely closed of to his own feelings, something his fiancée Susanna, played by Valeria Golino (Hot Shots!, 1991), constantly complaints about. When he learns of his father’s death there is no reaction. The two have lost contact since a falling out when Charlie was 16 and he has been on his own ever since. One might think that the recently bereaved Charlie would be thrilled to discover he has a brother, but his reaction to use his brother to regain the inheritance he thought he was due. Needless, to say Charlie is not the same man when he reaches L.A. that he was when he left Ohio with his brother. The transformation is ever so gradual and perfectly played by Cruise (Top Gun, 1986). Hoffman (Tootsie, 1982) naturally steals the show and he does do his very best to disappear into the role. Perhaps we are too used to Hoffman delivering the goods or just cynical enough to let his performance fall into the “Oscar bait disabled role” character (see Ben Stiller in Tropic Thunder, 2003 and you’ll see what I mean). But Hoffman’s performance is truly great. Luckily for the film and us, Rain Man is not just about its great performances it is also a highly entertaining road movie and a very touching story about the love between two brothers. Highly recommended to everyone except the cynical.
On “Oprah” Hoffman and Cruise revealed that the “farting in the phone booth bit” had been improvised by Hoffman when he accidentally farted during the shooting of the scene.
Picture Copyright: SF Film