Browsing through the various compact video disks at the neighbourhood library, I came across this rather unheard-of movie. Picked it up, thanks to its assertion to being adjudged the Best Motion Picture award for 1988. It was one of those longish movies (’bout two hours fifteen minutes) in which you are actually fatigued at the end of the movie. Every moment makes you think and introspect about the little idiosyncracies of life that leave logic behind, and allow the full emotions of life to be unveiled in ways that logic can never explain. In the process it gives you some invaluable lessons of life.
Plot goes something like this : Charlie Babbage(Tom Cruise), an yuppie esoteric car dealer, discovers that he has a brother Raymond (Dustin Huffman) who is autistic (mentally challenged in a way) and is institutionalised in a mental health center, when his father passes away and in his will funnels most of his wealth to a trust. At first Charlie sees Raymond as an obstacle to achieving the 3 M$ inheritance, but with time he starts to like his number savant brother. He drives him back to California, in an effort to wheel-in back his share of the fortune. During this epic road trip, threading through the various hassles and intricasies that autistic Raymond causes, Charlie undergoes a change. He starts to love his brother Raymond.
The story speaks to the unique nature and skills that even the seemingly dull witted almost always posess. It speaks about the love and affection that blood relations invariably bring along.
The film’s greatest achievement is successfully framing the plot around a character incapable of emotional development.
The viewer can almost identify the growth of feelingsin Charlie towards his autistic brother during the course of the movie. This is starkly evident when Raymond accidentally mentions Rain Man and Charlie realises that he was the same rain man whom he so fondly used to recollect. Also when he talks about his mothers death and then the song that Rain Man used to sing, can you feel the small spark of emotions in the hedonistic Chrlie being re-kindled. The movie ends with a very pleasant after taste in the minds of the viewer probably because his beliefs in the “basic good inside all beings” getting cinvincingly proven. The fact that there is that element of goodness in all of us reassures us of the viruosity of life.
This movie got among others Best Actor in Leading Role (Dustin Hoffman), Best Director, Best Screenplay & Best Motion Picture along with getting nominated in four other categories.
I would highly recommend this movie to any peson who likes to observe, analyse and introspect life!