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Analysis Of The Film Rain Man

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Rain Man

The media portrays different exceptionalities within different movies. Cinema seems to be one of, if not the most, viewed media resources today and has the largest influence on how different exceptionalities are viewed. Autism spectrum disorder is one of the main exceptionality portrayed in the movie industry. Rain Man established a new standard for the realistic representation of autism. This breakthrough Hollywood film is based on the real-life story of Raymond Babbitt, played by Dustin Hoffman. Hoffman’s performance enabled his character to assert his presence with the intensity which helped humanize not only his self-centered brother Charlie, played by Tom Cruise but also the audience. This allowed us to better understand how individuals with autism perceive the world. This success of this file enabled the use of this film as an assessment for measuring how succeeding depictions of autism have changed or remained the same. There are two major aspects of the film that may not have seemed troubling in 1988 when the film premiered but would be found upsetting today as our knowledge of the spectrum disorder has gained strides. In the film, Raymond is portrayed as an autistic savant (“one who combines certain deficiencies in social interaction, language and sensory processing with extraordinary abilities in math and memory”), which created an incorrect stereotype that all individuals with autism are “savant” when, in fact, only around 10%
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