Study Guide

Rain Man Family

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CHARLIE: I'm sorry about the weekend, hon.
SUSANNA: Charlie, the weekend.
CHARLIE: Look, I told you before, we had a falling out a long time ago. My mother died when I was two. It was just him and me. We, you know, just didn't get along.

Early in the film, Charlie's father dies, and he and Susanna have to forego a weekend trip to go to the funeral in Cincinnati. Here, Charlie is explaining some of the sad backstory to his family. It seems that he and Papa Babbitt lost Charlie's mom when Charlie was quite young, and they never quite got along… and hadn't talked in a long time. Sad times.

SUSANNA: You were his only child. You came along when he was... what, forty-five or something? He probably thought he was never going to have a son, so he had to love you. I think you're exaggerating. You were his child, his son, his blood. Anyway, in these pictures here, he doesn't look like a man who doesn't love his son.

Susanna is trying to convince Charlie that his perception that his father didn't really care about him is off. She's looking at old photos of them and trying to use them as evidence for her point, but Charlie isn't really having any of it.

CHARLIE: Tenth grade, I'm sixteen years old, and for once, I bring home a report card, and it's almost all A's. I go to my old man, "Can I take the car out?" You know, take the guys out in the Buick, sort of a victory drive. He says, "No." I take it anyway, I steal the keys, I sneak it out.
SUSANNA: You took the car with no permission?
SUSANNA: Why? Why then?
CHARLIE: Because I— I deserved it. Nothing I did was good enough for this guy. Don't you understand that?

Whoo-boy. Charlie clearly felt pretty entitled as a kid—really, do good grades really mean that you "deserve" to drive a vintage car that doesn't actually belong to you? But we do feel for Charlie a little bit, too, since it sounds like he felt like he could never please his father, which is part of why he wanted some recognition in the form of car privileges.

CHARLIE'S FATHER (VIA THE WILL): And I remember, too, the day you left home, so full of bitterness and grandiose ideas. So full of yourself. And being raised without a mother, the hardness of your heart is understandable as well. Your refusal to even pretend that you loved or respected me, all these I forgive. But your failure to write, to telephone, to reenter my life in any way, has left me without a son. I wish you all I ever wanted for you. I wish you the best.

I hereby bequeath to my son, Charles Sanford Babbitt, that certain Buick convertible, the very car that, unfortunately, brought our relationship to an end.

Despite supposedly "forgiving" his son in the letter read with his will, the elder Babbitt certainly throws in a lot of digs in there… and leaving Charlie the car that broke up their relationship reeks more of "slap in the face" than "Hey, son, wish we could have worked things out." Not exactly the nicest way to end things, right?

DR. BRUNER: Mr. Babbitt, I knew your father since you were two years old.
CHARLIE: The year my mother died.
DR. BRUNER: Look, I'm trustee of the fund, but this hospital receives nothing from that.
CHARLIE: That hardly seems fair. Maybe that's something we could discuss.
DR. BRUNER: I took on this burden out of loyalty to your father. That's where my loyalty ends.
CHARLIE: And you think I should feel a little of that loyalty?
DR. BRUNER: I think you feel cheated out of your birthright. By a man who had difficulty showing love. And I think if I were in your shoes, I'd probably feel the same.
CHARLIE: I was hoping that we could talk, that you would explain my father's side of it, help me understand the right in what he's done…

After the reading of the will, Charlie goes to Wallbrook to find out why his dad left the majority of his estate (all the cash, that is) to a doctor there in a trust for someone else. Here, he and Doctor Bruner are discussing that trust and Charlie's troubled family history, and Doctor Bruner is being cagey about the identity of the beneficiary. Clearly, Charlie is still pretty upset about getting cut out of the will.

SUSANNA: Charlie, you're his brother! His brother! They tell you today for the first time that you have a brother, and I don't see in your face one little reaction. I'm not saying joy. I'm saying something.
CHARLIE: Just take it easy—you don't know what I'm going through here.
SUSANNA: What are you going through? What are you going through? Because I don't know. Because you don't tell me anything! You just give me lies! Lies! Lies!
CHARLIE: Lies? What lies? What lies?
SUSANNA: This thing that Dr. Bruner asked you to bring him here, this is bulls***. I know it's not true. So why don't you tell me why, why is he here?
CHARLIE: Because I'm pissed at him.
SUSANNA: At who?
CHARLIE: At my father.
SUSANNA: You're pissed at your father, and you bring Raymond here. Why?
CHARLIE: I don't know why. 'Cause I got him and they want him!
SUSANNA: This makes no sense!
CHARLIE: Raymond was left all the money and I got nothing.
SUSANNA: How much?
CHARLIE: $3 million, the inheritance. Every penny of it.
CHARLIE: So, I'm gonna keep him 'til I get my half! I deserve that!

Here, Charlie's sudden "interest" in his brother/family is revealed as nothing more than greed. As Susanna mentions, he didn't even seem to have a reaction to hearing that he had a brother… so, yeah, it was easy for her to see through Charlie's story about the doctor "asking" Charlie to take Ray.

CHARLIE: I like having you for my big brother.
RAYMOND: Yeah. C-H-A-R-L-l-E. C-H-A-R-L-l-E. Main man.

By the end of the film, though, Charlie and Raymond have really come a long way, where Charlie seems to have embraced his "big brother," and Ray calls Charlie his "main man."

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