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Rain Man - Referat

Rain Man


Rain Man begins with Charlie Babbit, a tough young man eager to ‘get rich quick’. His business is in trouble and he needs money badly. He receives news of his father’s death. ‘Nothing I did was ever good enough for him,’ says Charlie bitterly to his girlfriend, Susanna. Then Charlie learns that his wealthy father has left him only his 1949 Buick and his roses; he has left all his money to ‘someone very important to me’. Understandably, Charlie is angry; he feels the money belongs to him. He discovers that his father has left his money to Charlie’s older brother- a brother he never knew he had. This brother, called
Raymond, is ‘autistic’. He cannot have relationships with other people ........ he can’t ‘feel’. He needs a very secure environment and is living in an institution.
Charlie ‘kidnaps’ his brother, although he will not admit to his girlfriend that this is what he has done. He tells her,‘I’m keeping him until I get my money’. He and his brother drive across America to Los Angeles; he plans to live with
his brother there. As they drive across the country, Charlie gets to know Raymond, who has some extraordinary skills. He can count 200 toothpicks in a second, and can memorise a page of telephone numbers in a minute. But
more importantly, Charlie realises that Raymond is the ‘Rain Man’. As a child, Charlie had a ‘secret friend’ whom he called the ‘Rain Man’ - Charlie did not know it, but this ‘secret friend’ was Raymond. Charlie takes Raymond to Las Vegas. He has decided to solve his money problems by using Raymond's unusual skills to win at cards. Raymond does indeed win $90,000 for Charlie. But by now, Charlie is beginning to care for his brother. When Charlie reaches Los Angeles he finds Raymond’s guardian there and the two agree that a
specialist will decide who should look after Raymond. Raymond’s guardian offers Charlie $250,000 ‘to have Raymond back now’. Charlie refuses. ‘I don’t want your money, Dr Bruner,’ he says. ‘I want my brother’. He has changed. The specialist questions Raymond, and Charlie realise that his brother needs to be cared for in an institution. By now, Charlie loves Raymond enough to want what is best for him. ‘Can I visit him?’ he asks. And so the story ends.

Personal Comment:

I really liked reading this book.
Although the book deals with a very serious topic, the author shows us in a very funny way how an autistic person goes through life.
The character Raymond shows the most obvious and typical symptoms of people with autism.
Like every person with autism, Raymond is unable to show feelings and emotions. For him only the „feelings“ ´like´ and ´not like´´ exists.
Another remarkable symptom is, that Raymond strictly refuses changes in his routines. For him it is the end of the world if he can´t watch his favourite TV-film, or if he finds his bed on a different place in his room. This is his way to express his „fear“.
Also the way Raymond communicates with others is typical for autistic people. He uses meaningless, non- contextual words, gives unusual responses and exhibits unusual body movements, such as rocking or flapping. He uses his speech to talk at Charly rather than with his brother. He is also unable to show social clues, such as giving a smile. But if he „must“, because his brother „forces“ him to, he looks rather funny.
Raymond also has abilities which are not typical for all people with autism, such as counting things very fast or remember things he read in detail.
But another remarkable symptom is, the way how Raymond interacts with the world around. He often seems aloof and absent, and has a very short attention span.
Very significant is, that Raymond can
not stand if somebody touches him.
He also shows unusual reactions to physical sensations: He is overly sensitive to touch, if somebody comes too close, he would act hysterically.
Although all these symptoms seem somehow deterrent, the author managed it, to represent Raymond as a likeable, sympathetic man.


Autism is a rare mental disorder. Autistic children are physically well-developed but they are very limited in their ability to understand and communicate; they seem isolated from the world around them. Many autistic
people hardly speak at all. About 10 per cent, often called ‘idiot savants’, have a condition called Kanner’s syndrome. They have an exceptional memory and often have unusual skills in music, art or mathematics. They insist on ‘sameness’ in the environment. Raymond Babbit suffers from this syndrome.

About the writer

Rain Man is based on a story by Barry Morrow. Barry Morrow then collaborated with Ronald Bass to write the screenplay; Ronald Bass was the principal screenwriter. Leonore Fleischer’s novelisation is based on the
screenplay. Barry Morrow was the lead singer in a rock and roll band
for a long time. He became interested in handicapped people and formed a touring theatre company which performed for them. He has written a number of plays for television; Rain Man is his first screenplay.
Ronald Bass has a law degree from Harvard University. He published three novels and then began to write successful screenplays. He now writes full-time but still works as a lawyer occasionally. Leonore Fleischer has worked in every aspect of publishing over the last twenty-five years. She has ‘novelised’ about fifty original screenplays.

About the film:

Director Levinson, Barry
Leading Actors Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman
Studio United Artists
Year 1988
This was the most successful film of 1988. It won four Oscars at the Hollywood Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor (Dustin Hoffman) and Best Original Screenplay. Few people knew much about autism, and cinema audiences all over the world were moved by Dustin Hoffman's portrayal of an ‘autistic savant’. It is difficult to play a man who cannot ‘feel’, and yet remain sympathetic to the audience. Hoffman3managed to do this; he conveyed the desperately insecure world of the autistic person, with his small,
monotonous voice, and the tense set of his shoulders. Tom Cruise, who played Charlie, had a less obvious challenge. Unlike Raymond, who is unable to change, Charlie undergoes a transformation in the film. He begins as a hard, ‘me-first’ materialist. He ends by learning that there are some things more important than money. Cruise played the part with great subtlety; the interaction between himself and Hoffman was convincing at a deep

The movie and the book were very emotional at some times, and have it's funny moments as well. I believe that "Rain Man" is truly a work of art, and a film, and a book that everyone can watch, understand, and enjoy.

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