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Rain Man is one of those movies where it is it always on the "Best Movies of all time" type lists and it always seems to be playing on cable TV every Sunday along with Forrest Gump, Shawshank Redemption, Green Mile, Gladiator, etc. And I since this summer has been the summer of Tom Cruise movies for me, I decided to keep that going into the fall with Rain Man. It's funny when people around you look at you that certain way when you admit that you haven't seen one of their favourite movies. I got that look from every single person in my family when I mentioned that I had never seen Rain Man before. "Oh, Rain Man is a classic! You have to see it, Brandon!"
So I watched it and, it was good. Yep, it was good. Was I entertained? Yep. Were there great performances? Yep. Tom Cruise plays a great jerk and Dustin Hoffman is phenomenal as Raymond. That is really all I have to say about this movie. It's good all around, but I feel like this movie isn't as great as the sum of its parts. Go through the entire the movie and pick apart every aspect of the filmmaking process and you will find that this movie is very good. The direction, screenplay, cinematography, music, sound, acting (especially acting), story, editing, all of it is really good and I enjoyed watching this movie.
But will this film leave a lasting impact? Other than the two performances, I'd say not really. It's not a film where I am excited to watch again or eager to tell all my friends to see. Now when people ask me, if I have seen Rain Man, I can tell them yes and that I enjoyed it, but it didn't blow my socks off on how good it is. Except for Dustin Hoffman. He is absolutely amazing. I had to take an acting class in film school as an elective to help get inside the mind of actors and one of the performances my instructor could not stop raving about was Dustin Hoffman's Raymond in Rain Man. When an actor truly transforms like that, then you know that people are going to talk about it for a long time. Raymond is a "high-level" autistic who is not going to be the most socially aware person in the room, but he is a secret genius. Tom Cruise's Charlie Babbitt drops a box of toothpicks on the ground and within seconds, Raymond knows how many are on the ground. He is able to memorize all the cards on a blackjack table to win huge amounts of money and put in any random equation in a calculator and Raymond will be able to solve it faster than the calculator can. It is truly fascinating to watch. Plus, the chemistry that Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman have together is really great and there is a great arc that is present throughout the entire movie.
Charlie Babbitt's father passes away and Charlie finds out that there are around three million dollars left to his brother Raymond who, up til now, Charlie never knew existed. So, it's a road trip to Los Angeles with Charlie and Raymond so that Charlie is able to get the three million dollars. Those actions alone make Charlie a pretty terrible character to start off. He is rude, extremely impatient, and is willing to drive his brother across the country simply to take three million dollars off him because "what else is a 'retard' who doesn't understand the concept of money going to do with three million dollars. However, over the course of the trip, you do see a real bond that forms between the two of them.
Overall, Rain Man is a solid movie with some great performances. Not a movie that will blow your socks off, but I can guarantee that Dustin Hoffman's performance will.