~ Movie ~ Topic 4 ~ Rain Man ~ Trailer ~

Director: Barry Levinson ~ Main Actors: Dustin Hoffman, Tom Cruise, Valerina Govino


Plot Overview ~ Adapted from Wikipedia ~ Genre: Road comedy-drama


Read the text and discuss the follow-up questions:


Charlie Babbitt (Tom Cruise) is in the middle of importing sports cars to Los Angeles for resale. He needs to deliver the vehicles to impatient buyers who have already made down payments. The EPA is holding the cars at the port due to failing emissions regulations. Charlie directs an employee to lie to the buyers while he stalls his creditor. In short, he needs money quickly.


When Charlie learns that his estranged father has died, he and his girlfriend Susanna (Valeria Govino)  travel to Cincinnati, Ohio in order to settle the estate. He learns that the bulk of the $3 million estate is going to an unnamed trustee.


Through his contacts, Charlie learns the inheritance is being directed to a mental facility, where an older brother has been institutionalized for most of his life. He immediately visits and meets his older brother, Raymond (Dustin Hoffman), whose existence he was previously unaware of.


Raymond has autism and adheres to strict routines. He has superb recall but he shows little emotional expression except when in distress. Charlie decides to steal Raymond out of the mental facility in order to secure, in his mind, his rightful inheritance. 


Charlie asks Raymond's doctor for half the estate (inheritance) in exchange for Raymond's return, but he refuses. Susanna becomes upset with the way Charlie is treating his ¡°kidnapped¡± brother and leaves him.


After Raymond refuses to fly to Los Angeles because he is worried about crashing, they set out on a cross-country road trip together. During the course of their journey, Charlie learns more about Raymond. It seems Raymond has the ability to instantly count hundreds of objects at once and make nearly instant calculations.


They make slow progress on their trip because Raymond insists on sticking to his routines. Charlie also learns that, like him, Raymond loves The Beatles. It is revealed that Raymond actually lived with the family when Charlie was very young. Charlie slowly realizes that "Rain Man", the comforting figure from his childhood was actually Raymond.


After the sports cars are seized by his creditor, Charlie finds himself $80,000 in debt. He hatches a plan to go to Las Vegas and attempt to win money at blackjack by counting cards. After some trouble with the casino bosses, Charlie leaves Vegas with enough money to cover his debts.


Back in Los Angeles, Charlie meets with Raymond¡¯s psychologist and guardian, who offers him $250,000 to walk away from Raymond forever. Charlie refuses. He wants to take care and be with his brother. Unfortunately, Raymond is shown to be unable to decide for himself what he wants. Charlie stops the questioning and gives up his quest to provide and care for Raymond.


In the final scene, Charlie brings Raymond to the train station where he boards with the doctor to return to the mental facility. In the final scene, Charlie promises Raymond that he will visit in two weeks.


Group A


1) What is the word for autism in your language? What is the mainstream reaction to people with autism?

2) In your mind, what is the cause of autism? Can it be cured? How? Explain.

3) How do parents deal with their autistic children in your country? How does it change their lives?

4) Are you comfortable talking about birth defects? Why or why not?

5) Do you know anyone with a family member with birth defects? How do you relate with them?


Group B


1) Can people overcome their disabilities alone? Who can/will help them in your country? Explain.

2) What advice would you give a child with a disability? about their future career and/or emotional life?

3) What¡¯s your opinion of the main character (Tom Cruise)? Would you have done differently?

4) Why do families focus so much on inheritance? Is it the money, the attention, or the power?

5) If you had to live your life over again, would you do everything the same? What would you change?


Challenge: Make your own follow-up questions and discuss them.





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Procedures:                                                                                                                 Print Questions: .docx / .doc


1) Watch and Listen to the video trailer and read the text preview

2) Clarify meaning as a class (including comprehension and vocabulary)

3) In pairs or in groups, discuss the vocabulary and movie content

a) If you¡¯ve seen the movie, tell the rest of the story¡¦

b) If you haven¡¯t seen the movie, talk about what you think happens next¡¦

4) In pairs or in groups, discuss the conversation questions

5) As a class, take turns using the conversation questions to expand your ideas

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