Study Guide

Rain Man Family

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Rain Man is all about family drama. Pretty much right off the bat, we learn that Charlie had a crummy relationship with his father and hadn't spoken to him since he was a teenager, and his mother died when he was two. Then, after his father dies and he learns that he's been largely cut out of his father's will, Charlie learns that he has an older brother—one who's inherited all of their father's cash.

Ever the selfish yuppie, Charlie sees an opportunity to get the money by kidnapping Ray.

Doesn't exactly sound like the recipe for a heartwarming story, right? Well, not so fast—Charlie and Ray's travels together end up bringing them closer together. D'awwww.

Questions About Family

  1. What do you think of the way Ray and Charlie's father handled his family? Is he to blame for all the trouble? What about his treatment of Ray?
  2. If family is at the heart of this movie and the brothers' journey, what's with the ending? Should they have ended up together? What does it do for your understanding of the movie/the brotherly relationship that they don't?
  3. Why do you think the elder Babbitt never told Charlie about Ray? What was the point of that?

Chew on This

You know that saying about how if you love something, you'll set it free? Well, that's how we know that Charlie has truly learned to love Ray as his brother (as opposed to a bargaining chip)—he lets him go back to Wallbrook to ensure all his needs are met.

The ending undermines the whole movie. If Charlie and Ray had really bonded, and Charlie had really changed, he would have made the effort to keep the only family he had left closer.

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