Dustin Hoffman (Wag The Dog)
Tom Cruise (The Last Samurai)
Valerie Golino (Hot Shots)
Lucinda Jenney (S.W.A.T.)
Bonnie Hunt (Jumanji)
Kim Robillard (Hook)
Beth Grant (Child’s Play 2)
Charlie Babbitt is in the middle of importing four Lamborghinis to Los Angeles for resale. He needs to deliver the vehicles to impatient buyers who have already made down payments in order to repay the loan he took out to buy the cars, but the EPA is holding the cars at the port due to the cars failing emissions regulations. Charlie directs an employee to lie to the buyers while he stalls his creditor.
When Charlie learns that his estranged father has died, he and his girlfriend Susanna travel to Cincinnati, Ohio in order to settle the estate. He learns he is receiving the 1949 Buick Roadmaster convertible over which he and his father fought and his father’s rose bushes, but the bulk of the $3 million estate is going to an unnamed trustee. Through social engineering he learns the money is being directed to a mental institution, which he visits and meets his older brother, Raymond, whose existence he was previously unaware of.
Raymond has autism and adheres to strict routines such as always watching The People’s Court, which he refers to as “Wapner” after the judge who presides over the show. He has superb recall but he shows little emotional expression except when in distress. Charlie spirits Raymond out of the mental institution and into a hotel for the night. Susanna becomes upset with the way Charlie treats his brother and leaves. Charlie asks Raymond’s doctor for half the estate in exchange for Raymond’s return, but he refuses. Charlie decides to attempt to gain custody of his brother in order to get control of the money. After Raymond refuses to fly to Los Angeles because he remembers every airline crash and is worried about getting hurt, they set out on a cross-country road trip together. During the course of the journey, Charlie learns more about Raymond, including that he is a mental calculator with the ability to instantly count hundreds of objects at once, and make nearly instant calculations on the exponential level, far beyond the normal range for humans. He also learns that, like him, Raymond loves The Beatles. It is revealed that Raymond actually lived with the family when Charlie was young and he realizes that the comforting figure from Charlie’s childhood, whom he falsely remembered as an imaginary friend named “Rain Man”, was actually Raymond, who was sent away because he had severely burned Charlie by accident as a little boy.
They make slow progress on their trip because Raymond insists on sticking to his routines, which include watching “Wapner” on television every day and getting to bed by 11:00 PM. He also objects to traveling on the interstate after they pass a bad accident.
After the Lamborghinis are seized by his creditor, Charlie finds himself $80,000 in debt and hatches a plan to return to Las Vegas, which they passed the night before, and win money at blackjack by counting cards. Though the casino bosses are skeptical that anyone can count cards with a six deck shoe, after reviewing security footage they ask Charlie and Raymond to leave—but give Charlie the money. However, Charlie has made enough to cover his debts and has reconciled with Susanna who rejoined them in Las Vegas.
Back in Los Angeles, Charlie meets with Dr. Bruner, who offers him $250,000 to walk away from Raymond forever. Charlie refuses and says that he is no longer upset about what his father left him, but he wants to have a relationship with his brother. At a meeting with court-appointed psychiatrist Dr. Marston (Levinson, in an uncredited cameo), Raymond is shown to be unable to decide for himself what he wants. Charlie stops the questioning and tells Raymond he is happy to have him as his brother.
In the final scene, Charlie brings Raymond to the train station where he boards an Amtrak train with Dr. Bruner to return to the mental institution. Charlie promises Raymond that he will visit in two weeks.
This movie is a testament to how good a director Barry Levinson is! It is a Beautifully crafted storyline which has been beautifully executed