The Rainman Essay, Research Paper
The Rain Man stars Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise. The movie was made in 1988. The movie is about an autistic man named Raymon, who is a idiot savant played by Dustin Hoffman and his fast, talking self absorbed, egocentric brother Charlie Babbitt, who is played by Tom Cruise. A egocentric person is a person with the simple recognition that every living thing views the world from a unique, self-oriented perspective(LIFE: Inherently Egocentric written by James Craig Green http://pw2.netcom.com/ zeno7/ego.html).
Charlie is a car salesman whose business is going down hill. Charlie and his girlfriend are on their way to Palm Springs when Charlie gets a call from his friend and co-worker. He tells him that his fathers lawyer has been trying to reach him, because his father was dead and the funeral was the next day. Charlie who never had a good relationship with his father decided to go out there to pay his respects and to go get his share of his fathers estate. When the lawyer read the will, Charlie finds out all he received was his fathers 1949 Buick and his prized rose bushes. The lawyer says the rest of the estate is going to a beneficiary. Charlie is mad at what his father did. He tries to find out who get everything else, because it is worth about three million dollars. Charlie finds out the name and location of the beneficiary, but does not know anything else. So Charlie goes to Wallbrook institution to find out who this guy is. While he is inside a man comes up to Charlies car and hops in. He says he drove it just last week. After Charlie asks him a couple of questions he finds out that they are brothers. Charlie s first impression of Raymon is that he is retarded. Charlie decides in order to get his cut of his fathers money, he will abduct his brother and wait for them to hand him his one and a half million dollars as a ransom because he thinks he deserves it. Charlie takes Raymon from Wallbrook and heads out on the road back to Los Angeles. Charlie tells him if they make it back soon they can go and see a Dodgers game. Charlie s girl friend objects to what Charlie is doing to Raymon and decides to leave him.
The next morning Charlie and Raymon go out for breakfast and Raymon starts to throw a fit when the maple syrup is not on the table before they order. He also wants toothpicks to eat with, not the knife and fork provided. Charlie goes and calls the doctor to tell him he has Raymon and won t give him up until he gets his 1.5 million dollars. In the mean time Raymon gets up and starts wandering. After Charlie gets Raymon back to his seat he decides to give in and tells the waitress to get them some toothpicks so Raymon can eat. She accidentally drops them when she and Raymon run into each other. He quickly counts how many have fallen to the ground. First he mumbles 82 then he mumbles quietly for some time and says there are 246 toothpicks on the ground, as they re walking away Charlie asks the waitress how many toothpicks there are in the box. She says 250, then says there are 4 left in the box. This is where you first realize that Raymond isn t just mentally disabled but is a idiot savant. This is a rare condition where people with severe mental handicaps have a spectacular ability in one skill or area.
Half way through the trip Charlie decides to take Raymon to a doctor to actually find out what is really up with him. When Charlie is done filling out the forms he hands them to the nurse and she reads it and says, is he artistic , Charlie says , no he is Autistic . Autism is the developmental disorder, usually appearing before age three, characterized by impaired non-verbal and verbal communication, including abnormal speech patterns or loss of speech; lack of eye contact; a restricted range of interests; resistance to change of any kind; obsessive repetitive body movements, such as hand flapping or spinning; a lack of awareness of the existence or feelings of others; social isolation; and no comfort seeking in times of distress. (www.encyclopedia.com/autism/1999). Anyway when they finally got into the doctors office the doctor discovered that Raymon was an idiot savant after asking him some questions in which Raymond had answered all the answers quickly and correctly.
As they are making their way to LA they pass through Las Vegas. After they pass through Charlie calls his business to find out what has happened since the last time, he finds out that he is in financial trouble. They need to come up with about $80,000 in a couple of days. Charlie figures out he can use Raymon for betting since Raymon is an idiot savant, he can remember and figure out the odds of different combinations, including cards. Charlie decides to turn back and go to Las Vegas to try and use Raymon to win money. When they get to the tables they start winning. In one situation when they are playing blackjack Raymon has an 18 and decides to hit, he ended up busting with a queen. Then Charlie says, what are you doing, I could have used that, Raymon replies there are plenty of them. So Charlie hits and stays at 19, then it is the dealers turn and he ends up busting by getting two queens. Charlie and Raymon end up winning about $86,000. Raymon talks to a woman during their stay in the hotel and sets up a date with her. She ends up never showing up. Charlies girlfriend who showed up earlier goes down with him, she and Raymon end up dancing in the elevator and they also kissed. After that Charlie is asked to leave the state because he was caught counting cards which is illegal, so Raymon, Charlie, and his girlfriend all leave and Charlie lets Raymon drive the Buick.
The next thing you know Charlie and Raymon are in LA at Charlies home. Charlie shows Raymon around and shows him his room. Charlie finds that he has a message from the doctor saying to call him because he wants to meet him. Charlie meets him later that night and they talk about how Charlie now wants to be the legal guardian of Raymon and that he doesn t want the one and a half million dollars. He is not mad about the money any more he is now mad that for over 25 years nobody ever told him he had a brother. Charlie decides that he is going to go to court to try and win custody of Raymon, although another doctor evaluates Raymon and recommends that he should go back to Wallbrook. After a scene in which Charlie talks to Raymon and says that this is the last time they might ever get to talk Charlie tells Raymon that he loves him. In the next scene you see Charlie and Raymond outside a Amtrak train. Charlie tells Raymond that he will miss him and he will be out to Ohio to visit him in 2 weeks. That is how the movie ends.
There are three principals psychological concepts used in this movie. They are autism, egocentrism and idiot savant. Charlie is self centered and egocentric. He thinks and regards himself as the center or object of all experiences around himself. He feels he is being cheated out of the money. He doesn t think how much Raymon needs it.
Although Raymon is somewhat egocentric because of his autism he is primarily autistic. He sees the world in parts, not as a whole and is unable to make connections. He knows the who s on first joke but is unable to understand humor. He knows his underwear are from a certain K-Mart, but can t understand all K-Marts are the same. The most remarkable thing about Raymon is that he is an idiot savant autistic. An idiot savant is a person who is brilliant at a 1 thing only but has no comprehension in other aspects of life. In the movie Raymon was good at all mathematical equations but he could not grasp the concept of money, how it was used and what it meant. He needed help with his daily living skills and could not take care of himself. This is an extremely rare condition because his skills are so spectacular in math that they would appear brilliant even in a normal person. The mathematical ability is very limited. Raymon can calculate calendar dates and add sums, but he can t make change.
This film portrays autism very realistically. Even though all autistic people are not as high functioning as Raymon it is believable and possible. Most adults with Raymon s condition would live in a home where everything could be structured and safe. The fact that Raymon is a brilliant idiot savant would be interesting but have little value in his day to day life.
Charlie s portrayal as an egocentric person was also very believable. It was obvious from the beginning of the movie that he viewed everything that happened very personally. He was self-centered and could not think of others. By the end of the movie he learns to think of others including Raymon and he even wants to incorporate Raymon into his everyday life. I think it happened too quickly though, I mean how many people can go from being egocentrical to a person who is at the exact opposite side of how to live life.
Even today autism is not recognized or else it is misunderstood by the public, parents and professionals. This film put a lot of the rumors of autistics and savants to rest. Before this movie not a lot of people had known how you could recognize an autistic person. This film was a really good film. As stated before this film not many people knew much about autistic people. This film opened up the eyes of people to autistics. This was the first film to actually show how autistic people live and how they like to have a daily schedule.
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