I grew up an only child for all intents and purposes, but I have a brother with mental disabilities who is quite a bit older than me, so in a weird and very fitting way, this movie hits very close to home.
Now, my own brother doesn’t have the gifts for memory that Dustin Hoffman’s Rain Man character here displays, and my dad isn’t some super rich guy leaving behind a sweet ride and a big secret so that’s about where the similarities end.
Hoffman’s character is a sad but honorable creature, trapped in a toddler’s mind, only capable of repeating basic information that he can memorize. He can perform the most complex mathematical equations known to man, but is unable to change a dollar for instance.
This movie is your standard road odyssey/odd couple road trip type film, and it works very good on that level. I liked that in this movie, unlike in some other road trip movies there is a storyline explained reason why our two characters must drive across the country instead of taking the logical step of just booking a flight at the nearest airport.
Tom Cruise is just coming into own here at this time. He is kind of in the middle of his transition period from 80s twenty-something sex symbol to serious leading man (leaving out his later transition to couch jumping loony, but let’s not get side tracked here eh?) and he has a tough job to pull off, having to be both the hero and at times the villain of this feature.
Hoffman of course is a tour de’ force acting within a set of confinements that literally prevent him from showing emotion but still getting the soul of his character out there.
This is a very well made feel good movie that has a big heart but is not cloying or pandering in the least.
Rain Man gets a four out of five: GREAT.