Rain Man

1988

Rain Man

Critics Consensus

This road-trip movie about an autistic savant and his callow brother is far from seamless, but Barry Levinson's direction is impressive, and strong performances from Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman add to its appeal.

90%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 77

90%

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User Ratings: 313,946
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Movie Info

Self-centered, avaricious Californian Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) is informed that his long-estranged father has died. Expecting at least a portion of the elder Babbitt's $3 million estate, Charlie learns that all he's inherited is his dad's prize roses and a 1949 Buick Roadmaster. Discovering that the $3 million is being held in trust for an unidentified party, Charlie heads to his home town of Cincinnati to ascertain who that party is. It turns out that the beneficiary is Raymond Babbitt (Dustin Hoffman), the autistic-savant older brother that Charlie never knew he had. Able to memorize reams of trivia and add, subtract, multiply, and divide without a second's hesitation, Raymond is otherwise incapable of functioning as a normal human being. Aghast that Raymond is to receive his father's entire legacy, Charlie tries to cut a deal with Raymond's guardian. When this fails, Charlie "borrows" Raymond from the institution where he lives, hoping to use his brother as leverage to claim half the fortune. During their subsequent cross-country odyssey, Charlie is forced to accommodate Raymond's various autistic idiosyncracies, not the least of which is his insistence on adhering to a rigid daily schedule: he must, for example, watch People's Court and Jeopardy every day at the same time, no matter what. On hitting Las Vegas, Charlie hopes to harness Raymond's finely-honed mathematical skills to win big at the gaming tables; but this exploitation of his brother's affliction compels Charlie to reassess his own values, or lack thereof. A longtime pet project of star Dustin Hoffman, Rain Man was turned down by several high-profile directors before Barry Levinson took on the challenge of bringing Ronald Bass' screenplay to fruition (Levinson also appears in the film as a psychiatrist). All three men won Oscars, and the movie won Best Picture.

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Critic Reviews for Rain Man

All Critics (77) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (69) | Rotten (8)

Audience Reviews for Rain Man

  • Aug 27, 2013
    While this movie certainly follows the typical road movie tropes, I think it does rise above that thanks to Barry Levinson's direction and Dustin Hoffman's and Tom Cruise's incredible performances. I wasn't expecting to become as invested in the movie, the characters and the story as I did. I was expecting it to be great, but one of those movies that hasn't aged well. Boy, how wrong was I about that. The story certainly follows a very rigid formula. Narcissistic Charlie finds out that his dead father has left $3 million to a brother he never knew he had, who has been in an institution for over 20 years because of his autism. Charlie, angered by the fact that his father, who he hasn't seen for over a decade, left him absolutely nothing, "kidnaps" Raymond in order to get his hand on some of that money to save his ailing car business. On the drive to Las Vegas, as Raymond refused to get on a plane, Charlie is annoyed by his brother's disability and his adherence to rituals. Charlie treats Raymond like crap due to his ignorance about autism. I think the movie handles the subject as seriously as they possibly could given the fact that, I'm sure, autism awareness wasn't as widespread as it is today. If there is a problem is that sometimes Raymond can come across as a muppet. Someone to be pitied and babied and not as an actual human being. To be fair, this is only a REALLY minor problem of the film. It's limited to maybe one or two short scenes. The rest of the film handles the subject matter with complexity and respect. I really liked how Raymond and Charlie's relationship developed in this movie, because Charlie's change feels subtle and gradual. It's the next logical step in the story because of the fact that Charlie's mother died when he was 2, he stopped talking to his father after he was 16, and he spent his entire life not knowing about his brother. So that makes Charlie's fight to be able to keep Raymond all the more believable. This is the only family he has left, and he doesn't want to let that chance go away. This really is one of Tom Cruise's best performances, it is subtle and nuanced. Again his change feels natural, instead of forced and contrived. It's particularly complex, because Charlie has made a connection with his brother, who may not even understand the concept of emotions. So that adds a little dramatic depth, he wants to take care of someone who may NEVER show him that affection. Of course it goes without sayings that Dustin Hoffman is incredible here. Hoffman has always been a greatly respected actor, but sometimes I don't think he gets as much credit as he deserves for his influence and talents. I take off my hat to him for this performance, as far as making him look like a muppet, I blame some of the scripting for that and not Dustin Hoffman. I thought the story was very sweet without becoming sappy. Again, it all feels natural and organic rather than contrived and forced. I can't say enough good about this movie. Yes, its adherence to formula has been noted. But I think the writing, directing and acting do make this a sweet and funny look at how the relationship between these brothers develops and how Raymond's disability affects that, both positively and 'negatively'. This is an excellent movie, so I'd definitely recommend this.
    Jesse O Super Reviewer
  • Jul 16, 2013
    Both funny and interesting, Rain Man is a good film. Dustin Hoffman steals it with his insanely good performance as a sort of alternatively autistic man who is good with big numbers but bad with basic things like speaking and socializing. A very young Tom Cruise is also great.
    Kevin M Super Reviewer
  • May 21, 2013
    The 1988 best picture winner, was more than a worthwhile drama. The touching story of a brother (re)unification went from comedic to depressing in minutes, and then back to comedic. I felt like the manipulation only added to the realism that this film provided. I was never bored, and while the same things did happen again and again, I didn't find it repetitive. Then of course I must praise the awesome performances from Cruise and Hoffman, which were the core of this film. Without the genuine great acting the film would collapse upon itself, and I believe this to be the most powerful Cruise has ever been on screen. The ending was predictable, but still emotionally felt. I shouldn't have delayed this watch for so long. 3.5+++
    Daniel D Super Reviewer
  • May 01, 2013
    From director Barry Levinson comes the touching dramatic comedy Rain Man. After his father dies, young entrepreneur Charlie Babbitt discovers that he has an estranged brother who suffers from a debilitating case of autism. Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman lead the cast and deliver great performance: the chemistry they have is especially good, and really helps to sell the brotherly relationship. However, there are some pacing issues that cause the film to drag at times, and the plot has some weaknesses as well. Rain Man is a heartwarming tale that's both entertaining and sincere.
    Dann M Super Reviewer

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