The Rainmaker is like David meets Goliath – in the court room. John Grisham, author of the book The Rainmaker, has a solid handle on this type of formula writing and it works well. Which is not surprising given he was a successful lawyer himself before making a lucrative career change. Add Francis Ford Coppola as script writer and director and you have a very well made, entertaining movie. The writing was strong, the characters’ credible, and the plot is weaved with a perfect balance of drama, humor and feel good action.
Rudy Baylor, a very likeable guy played by a young Matt Damon, enters as a third year law student, studying for the bar exam, and in desperate need of a job. He is sent for possible employment to the office of J. Lyman “Bruiser” Stone, a sleazy, second-hand, under-the-table, ambulance chasing lawyer played by Mickey Rourke, who I might add was a perfect casting selection. Rudy has a couple of cases he picked up in law school that he believes he can bring with him to the firm if hired. Bruiser recognizes an opportunity to make money, hires Rudy and our story begins.
For comic relief, we have Danny DeVito, playing Deck Shifflet, the “para-lawyer” – definition being a person who studied law but has been unsuccessful in six attempts to pass the Bar Exam – as Rudy’s side kick and future partner.
And the plot begins to develop! Mrs. Birdsong, an elderly widow played by Teresa Wright, provides Rudy with friendship and a roof over his head. For love interest, we have none other than Homeland star, Claire Danes, playing Kelly Riker, the battered wife, who is in desperate need of a knight in shining armor.
And the plot thickens! Mary Kay Place, who some might remember from the 1976 nighttime soap opera hit, Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, beautifully portrays Dot Black, the mother of son, Donny Ray Black, played by Johnny Whitworth. Donny Ray is dying of leukemia and unable to get the treatment he needs to live because his mother’s insurance company, Great Benefit, won’t approve coverage for his surgery. After Mrs. Black receives her eighth rejection letter from Great Benefit she hires Rudy to help her fight for justice.
And the conclusion … you’ll have to watch it to see what happens! But what I can tell you is that this is a great movie and if you have never seen it before, you don’t want to miss! If you have seen it before, it’s worth seeing again!
Fun Flick Finds
1. What is the name of the hospital Rudy and Deck go to ambulance chase?
2. Name another movie with a character in it named Bruiser.
3. What is Rudy tossing up in the air while chatting it up with Kelly in the hospital deli?
4. What is Mrs. Black’s address?
5. What kind of statue do the Black’s have in their yard?
6. How old was Harvey Hale when he died?
7. What is the name of the man Deck hired to look for bugs in the law office suite?
8. What Country Western Singer was in the movie?
9. What’s Rudy’s middle initial?
10. What time of year does the movie take place?