Sunday, November 28, 2010

Rain Man. B

As far as movies that deal with mental illness, Rain Man succeeds. I didn't particularly enjoy the movie, but I found that it hit all the right notes emotionally and made mostly solid choices in terms of the story. The movie plays like both a fantasy and a heavy dose of reality, a combination that I think serves a film like this well. I say fantasy because the story, while plausible, doesn't stray away from fanciful scenarios. It starts with the Tom Cruise character, Charlie, finding out that he has an autistic brother, Raymond (dustin Hoffman), who has inherited their deceased father's wealth. We're just as baffled as he is over this sudden revelation. The movie, which mainly consists in Charlie and Raymond driving from Cincinnati to LA (Raymond has a slight phobia when it comes to flying), has all sorts of outrageous sequences. One that particularly seemed worn out was the impromptu trip to Vegas because Charlie sees that Raymond has a brilliant mind when it comes to counting and memorizing. Much of the film comes across like coffee with too much cream and sugar (even though Hoffman plays Raymond as straight black), but it won my approval by the end, which is where we get the main dose of truth in the film. The movie recognizes the limitations of mentally ill people and makes the right choice in Raymond's fate. It's a choice that was contradicted in what I consider to be one of the most wretched of all movies, I Am Sam. That movie suggested that all you need is love to get by. This film though judges the patient by the extent of his illness, and leaves love out of the equation. Rain Man claimed the Best Picture oscar back in 1988, and while it may not be deserving of such a prize, it's still worth seeing for how it deals with its subject matter.

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