Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valeria Goleno
Release Date: Dec. 16, 1988
Running Time: 133 min
Commentary Rain Man is a fascinating film about an autistic man played by Dustin Hoffman, who does a terrific acting job. Tom Cruise is also very good as his selfish brother. The movie is entertaining as well as thought provoking.
Plot Summary Charles Babbitt (Cruise) is a selfish yuppie whose father had kicked him out as a teenager. After his father dies, he leaves a fortune to his autistic brother Raymond (Hoffman) whom he didn't know he had, leaving Charlie with just an antique convertable. Charlie meets Raymond in Cincinatti, where he's being kept in a mental institution. Charlie ends up taking a trip with Raymond across the country to get in touch with his attourneys and get custody of him.
Charlie tries to get Raymond to fly, but he won't due to his fear of plane crashes and ends up making a scene at the airport. Thus Charlie finally agrees to drive Raymond across the country. Raymond has other problems along the way, like insisting on Charlie driving on a two-laned highway to avoid accidents and refusing to go out in the rain. Raymond also turns out to be a mathematical genius and to have an incredible memory for trivial facts. During the trip, Charlie finds himself getting closer to Raymond.
In the end, Charlie meets with two psychiatrists. Eventually they decide to send Charlie back to the institution in Cincinnati, who agrees to visit his brother in two weeks.
Social Relevance Rain Man is the only film I know of which deals with autism. I've been told that I have a mild case of autism myself, known as Asberger's Syndrome. I found I could relate quite well to Hoffman's character in this movie. Like him, I'm also a mathematical genius and can do some incredible calculations in my head. Also, much like him, as a child I was pretty cut off from other people, although now I'm much better. I've heard that the portrayal of autism in this movie was very well done except that autistic people in general do not express unrealistic fears of danger, as Raymond did.
Here's a great scene in which Raymond insists on going back to Cincinnati to get a new pair of underwear.