Rain Man (1988)


Rain Man Review

Rain Man is a 1988 drama film directed by Barry Levinson and starring Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman. It is one of the finest Best Picture winners of the eighties.

The story follows a man who, after his father dies, discovers that he has a brother who is autistic and travels with him to ask the money his brother got instead of him from the court, but he eventually learns more about his brother and begins to care about him. It is a fascinating story and the approach here is excellent. It is simplistic and very straight-forward, but it suits the story perfectly and the movie flows beautifully thanks to superb direction from Levinson. There is a couple of minor flaws I have with the film. Its running time is a bit too bloated for this kind of story. The beginning and some parts of the final act should have been reduced a bit. Also, the protagonist’s change in personality is a bit too expected and fantastical and although the whole movie is incredibly realistic, that part somehow does not fit and is typical of Hollywood films. But the filmmakers themselves acknowledged this with the remark about that given in the end. Also, the movie is evidently sugar-coated in a typical American manner.

The character development in this movie is absolutely amazing and done beautifully. Both of them are excellent and fully fleshed out characters. The protagonist is a typical brat thinking only of himself, but changes through the movie and starts to develop feelings for his brother and the relationship between the two is some powerful and emotional stuff. And the portrayal of an autistic man here is wonderful, realistic and caring. He is portrayed as a real, flawed, but warm person and it is such a joy to watch both of them interacting with each other and that is the highlight of the film for sure. The other characters are okay, nothing special, but they are not the focus here and they serve their roles.

The acting is marvelous. Both performances are truly spectacular. Tom Cruise gave here probably his best performance do date. He is not that great an actor in my opinion, but he was really good and quite stupendous here definitely helping the movie. But Dusting Hoffman is extraordinary. His performance is professional with great attention to detail and he gave the character heart and soul and of course realism. He portrayed a very difficult character flawlessly and he gave a performance that is definitely one of the finest in film history. He is a great acting legend and this is his best performance in a career of so many terrific ones.

The tone here is very smooth. It shifts from dramatic to comedic at ease and is done beautifully. The realism of the film is evident and thanks to that realistic and grounded approach, this film is much better than ‘Forrest Gump’ which is incredibly unrealistic and silly. The direction is stellar and surprisingly good holding all of the pieces together, but the editing and pacing are deftly done which is a real feat leading to what is one of the better constructed and polished films of the decade with never a boring moment. The running time should have been reduced a bit, but it is otherwise a very well organized film.

But what drives this movie are those performances, that apparent realism and a huge heart at its core. There are many emotional and wonderfully warm sequences that are not cheesy, but rather endearing and bringing smile to your face. And that ending is heartbreakingly emotional and almost made me cry how beautiful it is.

With amazing character development, deft direction and pacing, a wonderful and important story and superb lead performances with Dustin Hoffman giving his best as well as one of the finest performances in film history, Rain Man is a miracle to behold and although it should have been a bit shorter and it is at times not as realistic, it is mostly filled with realism and a lot of heart at its core with many truly emotional and endearing sequences. It is a beautifully made movie which is a total delight to watch and which is one of the best and most deserving Best Picture winners of the eighties.

My Rating – 4,5


        Interior & Exterior Stills from Rain Man

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