I love the Academy Awards and last year I realized how few of the “Best Picture” winners I’d actually seen. So I made it a goal to see all 83 winners and blog my thoughts about them along the way.

Why did it win? Should another movie have won instead? Has it become a beloved classic or do many of you not even recognize the title? I invite you, my friends and guests, to comment along with me. Do you agree/disagree? I should be fair and place a SPOLIER ALERT on this blog since I’ll be writing about various parts of the movie. So read at your own risk…

I have often told people that I have movie amnesia… I can see a movie and forget all about it years later. So for that reason, I am re-watching the 27 I’ve seen before. That said, if no one visits or reads my blog and I basically perform the online equivalent of talking to a brick wall, that’s fine; if for nothing else, it’ll be my own reminder. Enjoy!

And the Oscar goes to…

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Rain Main, 1988

Rated R (which I think is too harsh)

This is such a touching film about understanding, acceptance, and appreciation and I was excited to get to watch it a second time for this blog. “Rain Man” tells the story of Charlie and Raymond Babbit. Charlie (Tom Cruise) is a money-hungry luxury car salesman who learns that upon his estranged father’s death, he was only left his prize-winning rosebushes and Buick convertible instead of $3 million dollars and the estate. He discovers that the $3 million is going to an unnamed beneficiary at a mental institution. Feeling robbed of his birthright, he is determined to get his inheritance and confront the possible fraud. Enter Raymond (aka Rain Man).

Ray (Dustin Hoffman) is an adult with autism and is the brother Charlie never knew he had. He is also an idiot savant (whose title doesn’t sit well with me but who is considered “a person with autism that has extraordinary skills in certain domains in spite of cognitive deficiencies in most others” according to idiotsavant.com). Charlie basically kidnaps Raymond in an effort to get his money and on their cross-country trip back to his lawyers in Los Angeles, he is easily frustrated by his brother’s behavior. He gets to see first-hand how important Ray’s routines and repetitions are. The audience is privileged to see the change that takes place in Charlie as he discovers more about his older brother.

Hoffman was the obvious win this year for Best Actor. I just wanted to reach into the screen and hug Raymond (although I’m sure that would’ve startled him into a fit). I consider this the best role of his career. Cruise was pretty spectacular too.

Individuals with Autism typically like to stick to routines, however, this is not something specific to this disorder and I know that first-hand. My beautiful younger sister has Down syndrome and I know how important routines are to her. It’s more than just structure, which I think benefits all children, but it’s the specific routines (e.g. the order things are done when getting ready for bed) that keep the peace. It can borderline on obsessive-compulsive behavior at times, but it’s important for maintaining their inner harmony. I also tutored a rather low-functioning 11-year old with Autism when I was in college. As challenging as that job was, it was incredibly rewarding watching her effectively communicate and accomplish simple tasks independently. 

The award-winning Director, Barry Morrow, gave his Oscar statuette to the inspiration behind his film, Kim Peet, to have when he went on speaking engagements. Kim was known as a “megasavant” and amazed people with his ability to immediately tell people what day of the week they were born on based on the date (among other astounding talents, obviously).

Peek and Morrow

This film was by far the highest grossing one of the year and won four of its eight nominations. Its competition came nowhere close at the box office, and it’s probably no surprise by now that I haven’t seen any of them: “The Accidental Tourist”, “Dangerous Liaisons”, “Mississippi Burning”, and “Working Girl”. A bit of Oscar trivia: this is the year the phrase “And the winner is…” was changed to “And the Oscar goes to…”


It’s too hard to pick a favorite scene because there are touching ones and funny ones. My heart melts at one of the end scenes when Raymond and Charlie are talking to the lawyer and institution director about custody and Ray labels Charlie as his “Main Man”.

I also thought parts of the road trip were pretty comical. (I can closely relate to some of those moments because of my own memories with my sissy.)


People with Autism (or any disability) teach and change US. We have so much to learn from these special people (ie. patience, understanding, sensitivity, adjustment…) and we can be forever changed for the better for having known them.

Routines are good. As I mentioned before, I know this from experience with my sister, but also as a mother of two toddler boys. Routines provide stability and structure and can also offer comfort. Without them in my life, too much crazy gets in.


  1. I absolutely love this movie and your review/rating really does it justice. I really like the lessons that you picked out of it.

  2. I LOVE this movie. So touching. I saw it for the first time when I was much younger. Maybe even the year it came out. (Although I'm sure there was a scene or two that my parents made me clothes my eyes and plug my ears during.) :) I didn't know it won best picture... makes me happy to know it did!