Tuesday, August 27, 2013

190 of 1001 Movies: Rain Man (1988)

One of the main reasons I will give Rain Man the rating I do is because it really does bring about some emotions. Otherwise though there felt something lacking about the depth in Barry Levinson's drama showing two brothers getting to know each other after years apart. There are a lot of moments where the movie pulls you in, and then it randomly occurs you to you that this almost feels like a movie trying to be feel good because it's so easy for it to. The performances in the movies are really good though, and Dustin Hoffman is brilliant. As someone who isn't a huge fan of many of Tom Cruise's work, I have to say that I forgot he was Tom Cruise while watching him in this movie as well.

Summary: Charlie Babbit's father has died, and when he discovers he wasn't left the fortune he is furious and rushes to where it can be found. When he gets there though he finds he has an autistic brother that he never knew about, Raymond. In the belief that he can exchange his brother for half the money, he drives away with Raymond in tow. What Charlie instead discovers is the relationship with his brother that he was deprived of.

Acting: The acting is what makes this movie above the others, and probably got it as much notice as it did. Tom Cruise is Charlie, and he portrays the guy well. I've never found Cruise someone that I've enjoyed watching much in other roles just because he doesn't seem to disassociate well from his real life personality, but in this movie he seems to completely embrace being Charlie and he feels like an arrogant guy who is slowly making this transformation to love his brother. Dustin Hoffman is the brother, Raymond. Hoffman is a great actor, but this is probably one of his best roles I've seen him in. Though he is portraying Raymond in the complete mindset of autism he gets us involved and feeling for a character who can't express much emotion.

Filming: I've never found anything particularly interesting about Barry Levinson's way of storytelling. I was trying to remember where I heard his name, and then remembered The Natural starring Robert Redford. Rain Man has a lot of the same vibe that story does except the lack of fantasy makes this movie a bit better. It feels like a movie set up to completely capture our emotions, but ends up just leaving you feeling like it was a good movie, but nothing to watch again. I can't really think of how to describe it except to say that the tearjerker, feel-good feeling is just forced. The characters just lack some sort of human complexity to make the story one of my favorites.

Plot: I like how the plot leaves room in the story to leave the characters with situations to figure out and also grow closer as siblings. It's not often that a story that is good about siblings is brought to screen, and this is one of those that is done well. I like how the twist in the story of Charlie's realization about some startling truths that were kept from him are revealed, and how even the title ties into it all. The movie runs for 2 hours though, and to be honest I just didn't feel the plot needed all it did either though.

Rain Man was one of those I did have very high expectations for since it seemed like a classic everyone loved. I will say it did almost bring me to tears for a few scenes, and it does what it intends, but that also seems to be the problem too. It is geared toward causing the feel-good vibe so strongly that it forgets to make the characters feel real. What saves the movie is acting because the actors make us forget their popular names and replace themselves as the characters.

Rating 8 of 10.

Rain Man (1988) on IMDb

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