By: Alex Phuong (Two Beers) –
As of 2018, more and more people are becoming aware of autism. People on the autism spectrum have difficulty with social interaction, repetitive behaviors, and limited interests. Many people are aware of autism thanks to the popularity of Sheldon Cooper (played by Jim Parsons) on The Big Bang Theory. Some people might not know, however, that one of the first major depictions of autism in entertainment is the Oscar-winning film Rain Man, the recipient of the “Best Picture” Academy Award of 1988. This film is much more dramatic compared to the humor of The Big Bang Theory, but it is still a great cinematic landmark, especially for people with disabilities like autism.
One of the best features of this film is Dustin Hoffman’s performance as the autistic protagonist, Raymond Babbitt. It is no wonder that Hoffman managed to earn his second Academy Award after winning for Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) by accurately depicting what it is like to be on the autism spectrum. Hoffman makes his character humorous through the awkwardness and atypical behaviors while also emphasizing the fact that autism really is a serious medical disorder. Kudos to Dustin Hoffman for one of the greatest performances ever given for a motion picture!
Aside from the great acting, the screenplay is also very well-written. It is almost as if this film is a great example of dark humor since Rain Man is no ordinary “dramedy” film. It showcases what it is like to have autism while also encouraging understanding for people who do have that medical condition. The writing is so wonderful that it even received awards for such a brilliant script. It has been said that great writing results in great motion pictures, and Rain Man is a prime example of such an occurrence in the history of cinema.
Even though Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise both give phenomenal performances in this film, the idea of their characters being brothers is a bit far-fetched. That is because the age difference between the two actors/characters (25 years) is so large that it makes it a bit hard to believe that they could be brothers even within the fictional cinematic world. Nevertheless, movies are oftentimes unrealistic, which is an unfortunate fact of life.
Rain Man will always be one of the best films of all time thanks to its presentation of real-world issues. Princess Diana has supposedly said that this was one of her favorite films. The Big Bang Theory was one of the most popular television shows in modern television (as of 2018), but Rain Man will always be one of the best examples of introducing autism to mainstream audiences. The recipient of two Golden Globe awards and four Academy Awards, Rain Man will always remain one of the most celebrated and culturally significant films ever made.
Rain Man (1988) Drinking Game
Take a Drink: every time Raymond exhibits awkward and autistic traits
Take a Drink: every time Charlie feels frustrated with his brother’s unusual behavior
And Count Your Drinks While Drinking Them: whenever math is involved in the film, especially during the moments when Raymond shows that he is an autistic savant (which is an autistic person with special capabilities)