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Rain Man (1988)

A journey through understanding to brotherhood

Rating: 10/10

Running Time: 133 minutes

UK Certificate: 15


Dustin Hoffman landed a well-deserved Oscar for his equally moving and funny portrayal of Raymond Babbitt, the autistic savant taken on a road journey across the United States by newfound brother Charlie. But it’s Tom Cruise, as Charlie, who’s just as likely to make you sit up and take notice when watching ‘Rain Man’. Cruise, who’s made some seriously bad movies in his time, shows something here that previously remained incredibly well-hidden – he can act.

Cruise’s gradual transformation of the Charlie character is in itself one of the key reasons for ‘Rain Man’s greatness. He starts off an unequivocal asshole – a yuppie car-dealer who bullies his staff and shuts out his girlfriend (Valeria Golino). When he learns of the death of his estranged father, his main concern is the $3million inheritance of which he has been left not a bean. Instead, the money has been put in trust for an institutionalised brother he never knew he had – Raymond (who is, of course, an excellent driver).

When Charlie kidnaps Raymond in the hope of receiving as ransom the pile of cash he believes to be rightfully his, the pair end up forming an unlikely bond which leads to rewards of an entirely different kind.

Hoffman produces an incredibly well-researched and polished performance as a character who lives by strict routine and is said to be incapable of forming human relationships. Extraordinarily high-functioning, he can count cards at the casino, memorise obscure baseball stats and add up large and complicated sums quicker than a calculator. He provides both highly-strung drama and some marvellous moments of humour, but it’s in watching Charlie’s mood turn from anger and frustration to love for his brother that the film is at its most rewarding.

It's Got: Two incredible performances from lead players Hoffman and Cruise.

It Needs: Not to change a thing – not least the perfect, poignant ending.

DVD Extras Just a trailer, plus an 8-page booklet about the making of the film. That’s right, a booklet. Hardly embraces digital technology, does it? DVD Extras Rating: 2/10


One of the triumphs of the 1980s, this is a movie Tom Cruise’s career is unlikely ever to top.