Film Review: RAIN MAN (directed by Barry Levinson)

by John Todd on March 10, 2019

in Film

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Rain Main is a heart-warming Hollywood tale that explores the relationship between a slick, fast-talking Lamborghini salesman, Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise), and his autistic, yet extremely gifted brother, Raymond (Dustin Hoffman).

When returning to Cincinnati to attend the funeral of his father, Charlie is disappointed to find that his inheritance consisted solely of an antique pocket watch and a 1949 Buick Roadmaster convertible. His initial disappointment, however, soon transforms into a rage when he hears that his father’s $3 million fortune was left to his estranged brother, Raymond. In a desperate attempt to get his hands on the money, Charlie decides to kidnap Raymond from the care home where he resides and takes him back to his home in Los Angeles where he hopes to get himself declared as Raymond’s legal guardian.

Before the death of his father, Charlie was unaware that he had a brother and the entire movie revolves around the relationship that forms between the two siblings as they travel across the country by car. Raymond, however, is heavily afflicted by savant syndrome, which causes many problems between the two siblings whose lifestyles are vastly different. In contrast to Charlie’s high-flying, fast-paced existence, Raymond is a person who requires strict routine, and his demands soon start to test the patience of his hot-headed brother.

However, as time progresses, Charlie’s affection towards his newfound sibling begins to grow, especially when he learns that Raymond is a mental calculator whose savant syndrome allows his brain to count hundreds of objects at once at superhuman speeds. After learning about his brother’s remarkable skill, Charlie sees an opportunity to make enough money to clear his personal debts by training Raymond in the art of card counting and taking him to Las Vegas to play the popular table game blackjack.

When reaching The Entertainment Capital of the World, Charlie buys himself and his brother two identical flashy suits and tries his best to help him blend in. As they descend down the escalator, however, we see Raymond looking around in childish wonder at this surreal world that he knows he is not a part of. Nevertheless, in an attempt to please his demanding brother, Raymond obediently follows him to the blackjack table and commences with the six-deck shoe hustle.

Suffice to say, Raymond does not disappoint, and by the end of the scene, the pair have cleared over $80,000 in winnings — meaning Charlie is able to clear all of his debts and proceed in life without any financial worries. Money troubles aside, Charlie begins to realize that his brother is much more important to him than he initially thought, and a new challenge arises in his life when people try to take Raymond away from him forever.

Though Rain Man may seem like just another road movie on paper, the outstanding performances of Cruise and Hoffman (who won an Oscar for the role) indeed are a sight to behold and their on-screen relationship is what makes this movie a timeless classic. Happy, sad, funny, and serious, emotions run high from start to finish, and the film has a powerful message that the audience will never forget: family is more important than anything.

Though harsher critics of Rain Man have claimed that the movie was guilty of exploiting a genuine illness and using a highly exaggerated stereotype of autism to achieve a greater dramatic effect, I do not think this is the case. In fact, Rain Man was arguably the first movie that explored the issues surrounding people with autism on the big screen. Of course, not everybody who has autism has these superhuman abilities, and of course, this part of the illness was amplified to carry along the plot, but that should not deter us away from the positives.

In the end, Rain Man, directed by Barry Levinson, is a beautiful story that reminds the world that everybody, no matter their condition, deserves to be loved and is capable of loving in return. Autism affects many people around the world, but this movie has done its part in changing people’s perceptions regarding this disorder for the better.

This is not the only film that is blackjack themed, the movie 21 tells the story of the MIT Blackjack Team that broke the bank at Vegas.


John is a professional copywriter with seven years of experience creating gripping content for a wide variety of businesses. His work has been published on UC Today, No Jitter, Customer Contact Central, and InGenius. He is a versatile writer who specializes in the fields of Technology, Cloud Communications, Travel & Leisure, as well as Gambling and Online Casinos. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, watching football, playing guitar, and trying to learn Spanish.

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