Starring: Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman, Valeria Golino
Director: Barry Levinson
Running Time: 133 mins
Rain Man is an American film about a frustrated man who finds out he has a long-lost brother after being left out of his father’s will. In order to get his fair share of the inheritance, he takes his brother for a trip across the country.
This is an absolutely wonderful film. Deeply heartfelt and fully genuine in every way, Rain Man is a film that makes you love its characters dearly, getting to know them just like family, and as such making for a film that features a deep emotional connection. As a result, Rain Man is an absolute joy to watch at every moment, with a wide range of emotion throughout that tugs at your heartstrings while simultaneously filling you with glee.
Before we get into that, we can’t overlook the two lead performances from Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman. Hoffman won Best Actor in 1988 for his role as Raymond Babbitt, the autistic but highly-skilled brother of Tom Cruise’s hot-headed Charlie Babbitt.
Throughout, both are absolutely stunning, and while Hoffman stuns with a powerfully convincing performance that not only gets the portrayal of a certain type of autism spot on, but also by playing his character in such a sweet and calm fashion, never going overboard with his performance, and as such making Raymond a deeply lovable character throughout, despite his shortcomings.
Tom Cruise, on the other hand, plays a man full of anger and frustration as he sees his business rapidly falling apart, and his father cutting him out of his will entirely. In that, however, Cruise is able to play a man who learns so much over the course of just a week, as he transforms from hot-headed and selfish yuppie into a deeply caring and heartfelt man who is touched by his brother’s abilities and character.
While the film’s focus may be more skewed towards Hoffman, I feel like Cruise’s performance is actually even better, as he really makes you believe in his character’s dramatic development in a way that I’ve only seen a couple of times. It may sound cheesy at first, but the way in which we see him bond with his brother is heartwarming and powerful to a degree that’s almost indescribable, leaving me completely engrossed in this wonderful story right to the very end.
Those two performances work wonders in creating two relatable and convincing characters to follow through the film’s story. Speaking of which, the story follows a fairly simple road trip premise, as we see the duo traverse the country from Cincinatti in Ohio to Los Angeles, but it’s the depth and emotion of their relationship that really makes the film an engrossing watch, following Cruise’s character as he comes to understand his brother more and more over the course of a crazy week of driving.
And that’s another thing that I found so endearing about Rain Man: the humour. Too often do films which focus on people with disabilities portray their condition in an overly dramatic and often morose way, yet Rain Man is a film that celebrates everything great about our characters with humour and joy throughout.
Whether it be seeing many of Raymond’s quirks, or watching him and his brother get caught up in all sorts of hijinks, the film actually works well as somewhat of a buddy movie, with the effortless humour and deeply endearing lead duo making me smile right the way through, only with the added bonus of that stunning dramatic depth and intrigue.
Overall, I adored Rain Man. It’s a film that thoroughly engrossed me from beginning to end, and with such a moving and delightful story, I could have watched it go on for hours and hours. With two beautiful lead performances from Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise, as well as a wonderful screenplay that’s just as fun and heartwarming as it is dramatic, this is a film that’s almost impossible not to love, and that’s why I’m giving it an 8.9.