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Parents' Guide to

The Rainmaker

By Alistair Lawrence, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 13+

Legal drama has adult themes, including domestic abuse.

Movie PG-13 1997 135 minutes
The Rainmaker Poster Image

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With its A-list cast directed by The Godfather maestro Francis Ford Coppola, this legal drama was one of several that Hollywood adapted from the bestselling novels of John Grisham during the 1990s. Anyone familiar with Grisham's work will know what to expect with The Rainmaker: an underdog protagonist gets involved in a case that exposes the corruption and inequality that lurks around corners in the legal system. Damon is perfectly cast in his first lead role, as the bright and idealistic Rudy, while Jon Voight and Danny DeVito reliably deliver their turns as his down-to-earth but ruthless opponent and his hustling sidekick, respectively.

Rudy's determined internal monologue serves as a voiceover that bears the hallmarks of a literary adaptation. Yet what The Rainmaker lacks in nuance or originality it makes up for by serving as cinematic comfort food. It would be interesting to see how a more modern adaptation would likely increase its diversity and the role of its female characters, not least Kelly -- Claire Danes is wasted as a meek love interest. But there's enough thoughtfulness elsewhere to avoid the movie ageing poorly altogether. Its unflinching look at the disparity in the healthcare available even in wealthy countries is sadly as relevant now as it was when the movie was made.

Movie Details

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