Rain Man (1988)

Illustrator: Will Hanson

“Rain Man,” released in 1988, follows a self-absorbed ass named Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) whose father dies, leaving him to discover that his father’s money is going to an older brother he never knew about. His brother, Raymond (Dustin Hoffman), has been living in an institution for adults with special needs for all of Charlie’s life. They end up traveling across the country together, and every moment is pure cinematic glory. Despite this movie winning the Oscar for Best Picture that year, when I mention my favorite movie to fellow students, few have seen it. This review is my plea for that to change: watch “Rain Man.”

I have a unique connection to the film’s premise; I am close with my aunt who has special needs, and I’ve interacted with a lot of people who resemble Raymond in a number of ways. Dustin Hoffman’s portrayal of an autistic savant is incredible. I will debate forever with anyone who claims that this is not Dustin Hoffman’s acting masterpiece. A young Tom Cruise and other supporting actors are impressive as well, and the writing is outstanding. This movie is clever, warm, heartbreaking, and, in my opinion, intensely funny. It is designed to have a strong effect on anyone who watches it.

I strongly believe that lack of representation of people with disabilities is one of media’s biggest pitfalls. This film is one of the first and best representations of disabled people in mainstream media, and it’s just as important and fantastic now as it was then.