The Rainmaker - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Rainmaker Reviews

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Super Reviewer
April 9, 2009
A surprisingly poor fairy tale about a young, broke lawyer (Damon) who by luck of the draw happens to become the lead lawyer in a case against a wealthy insurance company that failed to cover a low-income family's son after it was determined the type of leukemia he had required a bone marrow transplant. I was surprised this was directed by Coppola, one of the best directors all-time. What we have here is a common set-up (the young, naive lawyer vs. the big, bad insurance company), a needless subplot (Danes and Damon's affair, which amounts to nothing as far as to how the main story unfolds, not to mention a glaring plot hole near the end), and a very emotion-less ending for such an emotional story. Damon is very good, and the supporting cast couldn't be better (DeVito is a delight), but sadly it's wasted on a story that is really hard to believe.
Super Reviewer
½ December 21, 2008
I have hardly ever seen a movie that is as good as the novel it is based upon, so I wasn't expecting this movie to be better than the novel. The story isn't as interesting in this movie, but the cast is great, the entertainment value is excellent, and veteran Director Francis Ford Coppola is behind the camera here. Coppola has directed movies like the epic mob masterpiece The Godfather and plenty of other great movies.

This was released a couple of weeks before Matt Damon's huge hit Good Will Hunting, so this is one of his first big roles in a movie. Danny De Vito does a great job in adding plenty of humor to the movie, and Jon Voight adds a lot of dramatic effect to his character.

The story follows a young lawyer who is representing the family of a boy with leukemia who could have had proper treatment, but couldn't because of a seedy insurance company. The movie pretty much follows the book, but the problem is that the book had a few great sub plots that seem absent from the movie, and one scene that happens in the middle of the movie happens in the end of the book. The scene is very intense, but it seems more like it belonged at the end of the movie, rather than the middle.

This is worth watching, it is one of the best Grisham films, and there are plenty of great qualities in it.
Super Reviewer
½ July 14, 2007
Interesting legal drama.
Super Reviewer
July 8, 2007
One of my very favourite legal movie adaptation of John Grisham's bestseller. A very delight, emotional and exciting drama about an idealistic young attorney who takes on the case of a lifetime from start to finish.
Cameron W. Johnson
Super Reviewer
January 1, 2012
What in the world is a rainmaker? Seriously, I was just waiting for that big climactic sequence in which Matt Damon stands up, the music swells, and then he starts marching and bouncing around a fire, and then it would start pouring in the courtroom, and in the midst of all this chaos, a little girl stands up and says "And how can this be? For he is the Kizatz Haderach! Yeah, that's what we need; to make the ending to "Dune" more forced. Hey, it wouldn't be the cheesiest thing I've seen in a courtroom drama film; not since "To Kill a Mockingbird". Yes, I said it, and don't deny that you weren't thinking it around the time that girl started freaking out in the middle of her monologue to Atticus and then "ran" out into the crowd. If I was a judge, the moment she raised her voice, the gavel would come down, and by the time she ran out into the audience, I would bring down the gavel again, only this time, on her head. The courtroom is no place for drama, and that's why courtroom dramas are at their most boring when we're actually in the courtroom, unless, of course, you look at this film, where "every" scene, in or out of the courtroom, is equally boring.

Francis Coppola is a highly respectable, very strong director that broke ground with his filmmaking sensibilities in the 1970s... and now that it's the '90s, he's just gotten a little bit dull. No, I'm kidding... he's always been a little dull, and that fact certainly goes unchanged here, for although the film is never tedious, it's consistently slow. That, combined with many rather messily-handled subplots, create lulls in engagement, which of course leads to convolution. Now, these are all flaws found in a deal of Coppola's films, even "The Godfather" films. However, no matter how slow or how convoluted films get, they're always comfortably-paced. Now, we're not looking at "Munich", where most every second of an overlong film isn't just palpable, but even slower, but the pacing is certainly off, and if you're going to have a slow, sometimes unengaging film that runs a palpable 136 minutes, then you better have the goods to back that up. Well, sure enough, through all this film's faults, it hits in enough places to not only help you through the film, but make it pretty darn enjoyable.

We give a lot of credit to Coppola as a solid director, but it seems as though we don't give enough credit as a writer, because the guy's good, always adding a lot of snap and intrigue in the dialogue, and this dialogue is no different. The film hits way too many slow points, but it's not hard to make it through them, because there's so much sparkle and charm in the dialogue, but when drama comes into play, the snap in the dialogue is used to really slickly drive points across. However, no matter how snappy dialogue is, they're just words on paper and matter not if they don't have people delivering them snapily. Well, sure enough, the performers bring the charisma, from the always slickly charming Matt Damon, to, of course, everyone's favorite short, balding Jersey-Italian comedian, Mr. Danny DeVito. Still, through all of the charm and comic relief, this is still a drama, and it's not only the charm of the dialogue that changes to support the more serious moments, because the performers really know how to work that charisma. Few performances are terribly tremendous, but most everyone delivers subtle, strong perfromances that play their parts in this machine well. Matt Damon particularly stands out, portraying the Rudy Baylor character with a strong, but still rather subtle aura of humanity that deeply immerses you in his situation, making him a solid avatar for the audience, yet there is still a lot that's mysterious and unstable about this man faced with realities more harsh than he ever expected, and you're often on the edge of your seat, wondering when he will break, making him a generally strong lead.

Overall, the film is as slow as your usual Francis Coppola film, only with a little more messy subplot handling and a slower pacing, but you're still kept by, if nothing else, the snappy dialogue that supports our performers' charm the breaks up some pretty solid drama that is also carried by the performers, particularly Matt Damon, who's strong performance as his own man, as well as an effective avatar for the audience helps in making "The Rainmaker" a genuinely enjoyable experience.

3/5 - Good
Super Reviewer
½ September 8, 2009
It was a very powerful movie with a great message. The acting was great. It was funny, too!
Super Reviewer
½ April 7, 2007
In terms of Francis Ford Coppola films, this one's a bit underwhelming... but as a straightforward court drama, it works efficiently enough.
Super Reviewer
August 22, 2009
Excellent movie. Great acting, great story - just awesome all the way around.
Super Reviewer
June 2, 2009
This was an excellent movie. The story was great and the casting was done brilliantly. Definately a must-see movie.
Super Reviewer
April 29, 2008
A ho-hum kind of law movie.
½ March 25, 2014
Matt Damon stars as a young lawyer fresh out of law school who takes on an enormous case, suing an Insurance Company for denying legitimate claims, which lead to the death of a young man with leukemia. The cast is quite good, and the direction has Francis Ford Coppola finally seeming like he is a quality filmmaker again, after years of average work. Sure this is not up to par with his work in the 70s, but at least it isn't mundane or almost is genuinely entertaining and smart, and it looks nice.
½ November 28, 2013
Really nice feel-good courtroom drama that's all about the underdog getting justice. A young Matt Damon makes a great lawyer who wants to practice honestly and not sell out. Danny DeVito is funny and heartwarming as well.
½ September 9, 2013
usually ive never been a fan of law movies, but with this and the firm, im starting to become a fan, while the firm was more of a thriller, this is more of a human interest procedural, but its still just as good, damon and devito are great and make a good team, and danes is really good too, hard to believe shes only 18 in this, and voight is really good too, its never boring and moves fast without being confusing,tons of other big actors turn up in small roles, dean stockwell virginia madsen roy scheider mickey rourke, and all deliver, one of coppolas best non godfather movies, it def makes you hate insurance companies by the end, highly recommend for fans of law movies
August 20, 2013
Very good, dramatic law film. Matt Damon is great as the protagonist, and Francis Ford Coppola does a phenomenal job of directing this film, as usual.
July 11, 2013
"The Rainmaker" isn't the best courtroom drama I've ever seen, but Matt Damon's Tennessee accent is incredible and the plot is as airtight as an open and shut case. You always know that you are in store for something unique when you see Francis Ford Coppola's name in the credits, and his adaptation of John Grisham's novel is just that! Unlike most courtroom films that track a successful lawyer on the case that may end their career, this story focuses on a recent law-school graduate who is desperate for work and stumbles onto a case that is much bigger than he is ready for. The cast is deep with talent, from Mickey Rourke's small role as a ruthless (and likely criminal) lawyer to Danny Glover's great performance as the judge and Danny DeVito's less-than-ethical approach to law. Jon Voight steals the screen as the bullying Leo Drummond, and I wonder if this character's name is a throwback to Henry Drummond from "Inherit the Wind," one of the greatest lawyer characters in film (and stage) history. And this all goes without mentioning Virigina Madsen, Roy Scheider, and particularly Claire Danes as the abused wife. Add on Matt Damon's accent and you have some of the greatest actors of this era portraying Grisham's deep characters. The story takes unexpected twists, all while engaging our emotions as we watch a young man die of untreated leukemia due to this count case. It isn't "A Few Good Men" or "Twelve Angry Men," but it is definitely worth watching if you enjoy this genre.
½ August 31, 2010
Aug 2010 - It is a nice and powerful story following a young Memphis lawyer. The inexperience of the lawyer and the weird assistant played by Danny Devito make this different from typical courtroom movies and make the lawyer more emotional accessible. Yet the characters are a bit superficial and our view of the matters remain at most sentimental.
Super Reviewer
February 18, 2007
(1997 Director: November 20, 1997) Yeah, you guessed it! I work in legal!! LOL The beauty of the young and honest lawyer (before corrupted)!!! Jon Voight, Mary Kay Place (Mary Hartmann), Danny DeVito, Mickey Rourke + Matt Damon! Are you kidding? Top form! (review to follow)
November 14, 2009
it was a great movie. there were some vioence parts that were hard to watch, but overall the movie was great.
½ January 29, 2008
Very solid film with great performances, esp Danny Devito and Matt Damon. GREAT v.o. work by Damon as well. Enjoyed this very much.
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