The portrayal of individuals with autism in movies has come a long way in recent years. From the savant character of Rain Man to the multi-dimensional heroes of Salander and Khan, are we finally seeing the mainstream media develop a better understanding of persons on the autistic spectrum?
1. Rain Man
This film provided an entire generation with their first introduction to the subject of autism and is still highly regarded today, more than 20 years after its release. Raymond (Dustin Hoffman), the autistic character in Rain Man, is a savant. He has an incredible memory but he does not necessarily understand the things that he is able to recall. For example, he is able to remember numbers and help with card counting, even though he does not have a strong background in mathematics. At the outset, Raymond’s brother Charlie (Tom Cruise) mistakenly believes that Raymond’s autism can be cured and this is the source of much friction throughout the movie. Continue reading