Thursday, July 25, 2013

Rain Man (1988)

Earlier, I watched this exciting Ted Talk about this guy and his performance in a memory competition.  Apparently memory competitions are a thing.  He trained with Kim Peek, the man who inspired Rain Man.  He is autistic and has the ability to memorize entire phone books.  Everything the character (played by Dustin Hoffman) could do, he did.  It was amazing to learn about someone with such great powers of memory.  It was said that people like him store their memories in a different area of the brain than most people.  They store random facts (like phone books) in the part of the brain that hosts location (places and landscapes) memory.  So, if we can remember a beach we visited long ago, they remember full calendars and schedules.
So, now I know that the Rain Man is a real person!

So, in the film, we first meet Charlie, who is played by Tom Cruise.  He is a shady car dealer who owes a great deal of money to someone.  When he dad passes, he returns home, hoping to claim a huge inheritance. To his shock, he doesn't get any money, instead he gets his dad's prized car!  The very car that sparked the argument with his dad that lead to them hating each other! This is his dad's final "go fuck yourself" from the afterlife.
Charlie tracks down the money to an institute, where it now belongs to his older brother, Raymond.  Charlie didn't even know he had a brother!  Raymond is an autistic savant that lives by a strict routine.  How can he cope when Charlie takes him away from his home at the institute?

Charlie is forced to drive all the way to California because Raymond refuses to fly.  He has studied the amount of fatal crashes each airline has, and concluded driving is safer.  There is no explaining to him that flying is actually the safest option.  Remember at the end, he travels by train, too.  Trains are really fast and fun (also relaxing).  

Throughout the film, Raymond's quirks irritate Charlie to no end.  But soon he learns that Raymond has an amazing gift for math and memorization.  So, he does the logical thing and lets him win big at a casino.  During filming  Dustin Hoffman (who played Raymond) would wander off to play blackjack and had to have someone watch him so he would stop.

As Charlie gets to know Raymond, his attitude changes.  This is the first time he's spent with his brother that no one told him he had.  He learns that Raymond is the "Rain Man" who used to sing lullabies to him when he was little.  Rain Man was simply how he pronounced Raymond.  Later, Raymond's caretakers track them down and demand him back.  Now, Charlie is less concerned about the money and more concerend about losing his brother again.  He realizes that Raymond being in the stable environment where he knows his caretakers would be the best thing.  Raymond boards a train with them to return home, but not before saying goodbye to his "main man Charlie".

Both Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman did exceptional jobs portraying their characters.  That really made the difference in this film.  I will rate this a 9/10.

No comments:

Post a Comment