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Cruise plays a hopeful heir who hasn't spoken to his recently deceased father in years. His father leaves him a nice car and a few rose bushes; the rest of the three million dollar estate goes to Raymond (Hoffman), the older brother Cruise never knew he had. Because he is autistic, Raymond is highly intelligent but cannot function in normal situations, so he has been institutionalized since he was four years old. (This was right after his mother died; Cruise was too young to remember Raymond as anything more than an imaginary friend.) Now Cruise decides to simply drive off with Raymond; he refuses to return Raymond to the institution until his doctor, who has been placed in charge of the estate, gives Cruise a share of the money. After a week with Raymond, however, Cruise's motives shift; he decides that he no longer wants the money, but just wants to know his brother.
Cruise and Hoffman are both terrific actors, and they are wonderful in their roles. It's absorbing to watch Cruise go from anger toward his father, to anger toward Raymond, and finally to caring about Raymond. Rain Man is a truly interesting drama with lots of comedy mixed in to keep the plot moving quickly.