i don't know what happened in the 80's, but hollywood seemed to fall into a black hole, producing one bad film after another. rain man is one of the exceptions. it has a good story told w/o too much of the schmaltz hollywood usually likes to pile onto feel-good films. unlike many people, i wasn't entirely convinced by hoffman's character. to me, he just looked like he was acting. i wouldn't have given him the oscar for that performance. cruise, otoh, was very convincing, first as the hot-shot, emotionally-distant, embittered young man, then later as the younger brother with a heart. i was impressed by the transformation. the scenes at the end - the meeting with the doctors and the goodbye at the station - were especially touching. cruise really showed here that he could act. and i'm not a tom cruise fan. but i was genuinely impressed.
so, the film that started the stampede to films about emotionally disabled people still holds up well. highly recommended.