Rain Man

(Barry Levinson, USA, 1988)


Although Barry Levinson's film featuring Dustin Hoffman as Raymond, an autistic savant, may promise to be an affliction weepie in the manner of Awakenings (1990), it is not about a severely disabled or dysfunctional individual.

Raymond's compulsions, tics and strategies of withdrawal are presented lightly as a metaphor for the average neurotic trying to find a place in the world.

Most of the emotional hooks are obvious and familiar – with both Raymond and his travelling companion Charlie (Tom Cruise) needing to change and adapt their unbending natures – but Levinson imbues the film with a dreamlike, lyrical style that offers atmosphere and pathos.

MORE Levinson: Disclosure, Good Morning, Vietnam, Sleepers, Wag the Dog, Tin Men

© Adrian Martin May 1992

Film Critic: Adrian Martin
home    reviews    essays    search