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Mental Illness: Major Films  
TitleRain People, The (1969)
Alternative/Original Title
DisabilityMental Brain damage
CountryUSA
Length102
GenreRoad movie
Rating3
DirectorFrancis Ford Coppola
CastJames Caan Shirley Knight Robert Duvall Marya Zimmet
NotesA woman unable to take more of married life leaves home early one morning. On the road she picks up a hitchhiker who turns out to be a college footballer who has been brain damaged during play. At first employed to sweep leaves he is given a thousand dollars and told to go. A relationship develops between them until a motor cycle cop chats her up. Things go slowly with lots of scenery thrown in and some nice observation but there is no satisfying resolution, only death. The woman so confused about her own situation (especially since she's pregnant) and becomes more confused in her attempts to do what's right for the young man. We're aware how selfish she is when she dumps him in a job looking after cruelly caged chickens. Naturally in the cliched way these things go he identifies with the chickens and sets them free. Though of course anyone seeing the cages would praise him. The end when he is shot is a cop-out. One can see the director (who wrote the screenplay and the story from which it derives) trying hard to show us the realities but he ultimately fails to draw us into the story.

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