Generally favorable reviews - based on 18 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 12 out of 18
  2. Negative: 2 out of 18
  1. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    There've been few screen moments more moving this year than Cruise's initial reaction to his brother's almost superhuman math prowess. [16 Dec 1988]
  2. Somehow, Hoffman makes all this hypnotically interesting, and, through impeccable timing, sometimes terribly funny--a sweet humor which never betrays Raymond's unalterable character. [16 Dec 1988]
  3. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    In every detail - the superb soundtrack, the rich cinematography, the dinstinctively edgy editing - Rain Man reveals itself as a movie made with care, smarts, and a refreshing refusal to settle for the unexpected. [19 Dec 1988]
  4. A film that is both touching and generous of spirit - and funny as well. [15 Dec 1988, p.A16(E)]
  5. 88
    How can you make a movie about a man who cannot change, whose whole life is anchored and defended by routine? Few actors could get anywhere with this challenge, and fewer still could absorb and even entertain us with their performance, but Hoffman proves again that he almost seems to thrive on impossible acting challenges.
  6. Fortunately, the script by Ronald Bass and Barry Morrow isn't half bad, and both Barry Levinson's direction and the performances are agreeably restrained.
  7. 75
    Though it's well directed, written and performed, Rain Main still slips irreversibly into the so-what category. [16 Dec 1988]
  8. The story wanders, the plot twists seem contrived at times, and the emotions are never as intense as they might be. But it highlights yet another facet of Hoffman's talent: a gift for monochrome, of all things! And it has a heart as good as Raymond's own. [30 Dec 1988]
  9. There is ultimately in Rain Man a soul that emerges. It's not the grand vision found in the great films, but it is a vision nevertheless. [16 Dec 1988]
  10. Reviewed by: Jay Scott
    Only after the Hollywood hypnotism wears off is it apparent that Rain Man, fundamentally an artsy sentimentalization of "The Odd Couple," is somewhat less than the sum of its perfect parts.
  11. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    Rain Man rises above the banality of its concept--another buddy movie crossbred with a road picture--to become a genuinely moving and intelligent look at what it means to be human.
  12. Reviewed by: Staff (Not Credited)
    It's a mature assignment for Cruise and he's at his best in the darker scenes.
  13. In much the way that Raymond stays detached, the performance seems to exist outside the film but, instead of illuminating Rain Man, it upstages the work of everyone else involved. [16 Dec 1988, p.C12]
  14. Reviewed by: Richard Schickel
    Rain Man's restraint is, finally, rather like Raymond's gabble. It discourages connections, keeping you out instead of drawing you in. [19 Dec 1998]
  15. Hoffman blows costar Cruise right off the screen...Instead of playing off or with Hoffman (a greenhorn's smartest strategy), Cruise tends to play at him, flailing and swearing like a spoiled, grounded pilot in "Top Gun II."
  16. Cruise is becoming a real star, confident and gleaming. But neither he nor Hoffman nor the cleverness of the director, Barry Levinson, can prevail against a screenplay that has a beginning at the Ohio home, a finish in L.A., and nothing much in between. [9 Jan 1989]
  17. Reviewed by: Hal Hinson
    It's Hoffman's failure, though, that sinks the picture. He is working here with his usual meticulousness, but there's no relaxation in his performance, no sense that he has ever merged with his subject, that he has found Raymond's center and is simply acting out of it.
  18. 30
    Everything in this movie is fudged ever so humanistically, in a perfuctory, low-pressure way. And the picture has its effectiveness: people are crying at it. Of course they're crying at it - it's a piece of wet kitsch. [6 Feb 1989]
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 105 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 28
  2. Negative: 0 out of 28
  1. SimonS.
    Dec 5, 2007
    I love this movie! So touching, so well made. Cruise and Hoffman feed well off each other, great chemistry.
  2. JayH.
    Oct 2, 2009
    Another overrated (but still good) best picture winner. Dustin Hoffman's performance is what really lifts the film up. I am not a fan of Tom Cruise, and felt his wooden and insincere performance brought the film down. Well produced in every way. Full Review »
  3. Aug 27, 2014
    One of those touching films from the 1980s that'll be remembered forever. Rain Man is a genuine and humanistic, likely due to the superb performance from Dustin Hoffman. Full Review »