Prime Video movie of the day: Tom Cruise and Dustin Hoffman deliver a powerful and compassionate drama in Rain Man

Rain Man
(Image credit: United Artists)

In Rain Man, Dustin Hoffman delivers an extraordinary performance as Raymond Babbitt. Babbitt is savant, a rare kind of autism, and the movie is a warm and sympathetic exploration of what that means for both Babbitt and for his younger brother, played by Tom Cruise. At first Cruise seeks to exploit his brother, but as they travel together he begins to discover some truths about himself and his sibling.

It's not perfect by any means – there have been legitimate criticisms of errors it contains and what many people consider to be its sometimes simplistic portrayal of autism – but it's well-intentioned, well written and beautifully acted – and it's streaming on Prime Video now. 

A masterclass in acting from a legend and a legend-to-be

This was one of Tom Cruise's best movies to date, said the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Mr. Cruise showed enormous promise in his early films, Risky Business and All The Right Moves. But since then, he's been on Cruise control... Here, he's back at work and it shows. In less obvious ways, the younger actor is every bit Mr. Hoffman's equal." And for the Charlotte Observer: "It's a rarity for big-studio, big-star Hollywood: a $20 million picture in which nobody's ego is showing."

For the Kansas City Star, "Rain Man is the best American film of 1988. It features yet another superb performance by Dustin Hoffman, which isn’t surprising, and a deeply felt one by Tom Cruise, which is a surprise." The Miami Herald felt similar. "The delight is in the fineness of the storytelling, by Barry Levinson from a wonderful script by Ronald Bass and Barry Morrow, and in the performances by Cruise and Hoffman."

It's a "thoughtful, and hugely enjoyable, classic," Empire says, a film that helped shift public perceptions of autistic people. But the film is not an overly worthy polemic: "it not only made the audience think. It made them happy."

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Carrie Marshall

Writer, broadcaster, musician and kitchen gadget obsessive Carrie Marshall (Twitter) has been writing about tech since 1998, contributing sage advice and odd opinions to all kinds of magazines and websites as well as writing more than a dozen books. Her memoir, Carrie Kills A Man, is on sale now. She is the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR.