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Rain Man

Rain Man

What She said:

She

While some of you more mainstream folks were watching the Super Bowl last Sunday, The He and I were soaking up an old classic, Rain Man.  Actually, The He had never seen it before, and so this was a new experience to him.  Of course, everyone has heard of Rain Man.  I think it was one of the first movies where Tom Cruise actually proved he was a viable dramatic actor, in addition to excelling in that ‘80s fluff stuff.  Both Cruise and co-star Dustin Hoffman were right in their prime for this film, and the result is a nice coming-of-age story of two brothers.

First, some background.  Cruise plays Charlie Babbitt, a completely self-absorbed L.A. car dealer on the brink of financial collapse after a big deal goes south on him.  He cares about no one else, not even his patient and loving girlfriend.  Meanwhile, his father dies.  Of course, Charlie has not spoken to his father for years, and it legitimately seems like it’s both of their faults.  Charlie must travel back east to Cincinnati to attend his father’s funeral and settle the estate.  But what’s this?  It turns out he’s almost completely cut out of the inheritance, finding out that it instead is being held in trust for someone at a mental facility.  Out of care only for himself, Charlie goes to find out who this other person is so that he can get his father’s money.  The truth is revealed that Charlie has a secret autistic-savant brother, Raymond (Hoffman), which he never knew about.  What begins purely as a relationship of necessity for Charlie soon turns into a growth experience, as he realizes how much family really means to him.

Charlie and Raymond do a cross country road trip together, which is fun to watch.  The film has some light moments of very genuine humor.  You get to see a lot of nice bonding.  It’s, dare I say, heartwarming.  Cruise and Hoffman both put in exceptional performances.  It’s amazing how quickly you forget that Hoffman is acting, and embrace him as the child-like, yet brilliant Raymond. 

With an engrossing story and superb acting, Rain Man is a solid pick from the movie vault.

Thumbs up. 

What he said:

He

Those of you who know me know that I like to watch the occasional film.  Knowing I like movies, people will often come to me and say “You’ve got to see this!” or much to my surprise will actually ask me for my recommendations. So, it may shock you to hear I have never seen this movie.

The movie opens up with Charlie Babbit (Tom Cruise) finding out his father just passed away. Charlie isn’t close to his father and doesn’t even blink when he finds out. However, he is interested in seeing if his old man left him anything. Apparently his father was pretty wealthy and Charlie thinks he’s entitled to his estate. Much to his surprise, his father didn’t leave him much. Sure he got a sweet vintage car, but the property and all his assets are left to some mystery man in a mental institution.

Charlie goes there to find out who this mystery man is and it turns out he’s Charlie’s older brother Raymond. Raymond (Dustin Hoffman) is an autistic savant. He isn’t capable of living on his own, but is brilliant in many other ways. Charlie – being the jerk that he is – decides to kidnap his brother and fight for custody over him; so that he gets his cut of the money.  The two embark on a road trip back to California, which is where Charlie lives. Along the way, Charlie learns a lot about his family and himself. The journey is a funny and heartfelt one, as Charlie goes from a man who only wants Raymond for financial gain to someone who genuinely cares about Raymond.

I can see why this movie was so popular when it was released. It’s a very engrossing drama filled with some fantastic performances. Dustin Hoffman is absolutely perfect. The work he put into this role really comes through on the screen. You don’t see an actor playing an autistic man. You simply see an autistic man. . If I didn’t already know who he was, I would have assumed they had an actual autistic person play the part. Tom Cruise is also fantastic as the self-absorbed, but not totally unredeemable Charlie Babbit. He was at the top of his game in this one. There’s lots of good performances throughout the movie, but these two carry it.

Rating: Thumbs up.

This movie review was given the He said She said seal of approval on January 22, 2012.