• Tue
  • Nov 25, 2014
  • Updated: 12:17am

Rain Man

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 25 May, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 25 May, 2011, 12:00am
 

Starring: Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise
Directed by: Barry Levinson
Year of original release: 1988
Genre: Comedy drama

Set-up: Rain Man is one of Hollywood's most-popular and well-received movies of all time. When it was released in 1988, Dustin Hoffman was at the height of his popularity and Tom Cruise had just hit the big time. Hoffmann won the Best Actor award at the 1989 Oscars for his portrayal of a severely autistic savant, based on a real-life person. Rain Man was the highest-grossing movie of 1988 and won the People's Choice Award for Favourite Motion Picture of the Year.

Plot: Yuppie Los Angeles car dealer Charlie Babbitt (Cruise) is in financial trouble when he learns of his estranged father's death. He is shocked to find his late father has given his millions to a mental institution in Cincinnati, Ohio, where Raymond, an autistic brother Charlie didn't know he had, lives. Charlie drives Raymond back to Los Angeles, hoping that a court will grant him custody of his autistic brother and he can get his hands on his father's wealth.

Autism: The condition affects the functioning of the brain and prevents sufferers from developing normal social, communication and reasoning skills. Signs of autism show up early in life. Autistic children are withdrawn and show little interest in interacting with others. Ten per cent of autistics have a form of savantism, meaning they have remarkable skill in areas such as music, mathematics or memory retention. The scientific causes of autism are not fully understood.

The book: Mark Haddon's novel The Curious Incident of the Dog in The Night-Time (2003) also drew attention to autism. Narrator-protagonist Christopher Boone, 15, is intelligent, amiable and has Asperger's syndrome, a type of autism. He loves maths, puzzles and counting the red cars he sees on his way to school. He hates being touched, refuses to eat brown food and thinks yellow cars are unlucky. He finds a dog that's been stabbed to death and turns detective to solve the crime.

Wiltshire's world: British artist Stephen Wiltshire runs a gallery in London. He is well known for his cityscapes. Born in 1974, he was a mute child and couldn't relate to others. At three, he was diagnosed with autism and sent to a special school, where teachers realised he communicated through art. He loved to draw animals, buses, trucks and buildings. A former Royal Academy of Art president said he was 'possibly the best child artist in Britain'.

The yuppie: The word 'yuppie' appeared in the early 1980s and is short for 'young urban professional'. It describes a young man or woman with a well-paid job who dresses smartly, enjoys socialising with other yuppies and likes to lead a luxurious lifestyle. They work hard, earn lots of money and buy expensive, brand-name goods. A survey of Hong Kong's yuppies last year found 58 per cent wanted to own an apartment and 40 per cent wanted a portfolio of successful investments.

Wiltshire's world: British artist Stephen Wiltshire runs a gallery in London. He is well known for his cityscapes. Born in 1974, he was a mute child and couldn't relate to others. At three, he was diagnosed with autism and sent to a special school, where teachers realised he communicated through art. He loved to draw animals, buses, trucks and buildings. A former Royal Academy of Art president said he was 'possibly the best child artist in Britain'.

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