The Rain People - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The Rain People Reviews

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½ November 12, 2016
Surprised that Danny Peary, in his book Cult movies, only considers Natalie's story/women's representation. I think if that piece wasn't balanced by Killer's story and the America of the film, it would have been much poorer.
His points are no less valid, or interesting.
-feminist criticisms of the film. Would feminists still take issue with Natalie's promiscuous goals? Peary defends them as a realistic character choice and not just creepy male gaze stuff.
-Coppola's success at this woman-centred film before going on to a very male-dominated oeuvre.
-Coppola's - and Peary's! - sympathy for Natalie are charming: she's just not ready now, she needs her space, and it's possible for those to be true AND natalie to still love her husband.
November 16, 2015
Did you ever just want to take off? Leave your mess and go where the road goes?

It's never the answer. You have to turn around some time. If you can even do it anymore. Nowadays, if you use a credit card, if you have a phone or a GPS, you can be found. But somewhere, for a minute, between the exits on the Pennsylvania Turnpike, you feel free.

So what's wrong with Natalie? Is she stifled by the roles thrust upon her? Is she at an existential crossroads? Or is she just selfish?

Films like The Rain People never answer those questions, they want to leave them open. I'm coming around to the notion that the best movies aren't the ones that take a stand and dare you to reject it. The best films are Rorschach tests for their viewers, where any comments about them tell you more about the speaker than the movie.

The Rain People was made in 1969, when its director Francis Ford Coppola was not yet an overindulged genius and was merely a budding genius. It's very much of its time - a road movie, generally plotless, the main character questioning the values that have been thrust upon her, against the backdrop of grotesque Americana.

One might wish Coppola had kept making small movies. As impressive as the Godfather movies are, I have trouble with films that ennoble scumbags (I have the same problem with Gone with the Wind). I prefer movies like this.

Watch it if you get the chance. It will stay with you.
½ November 23, 2014
Well made, but I kept thinking about the baggage that people you meet have; you just don't always know about it. Then to have it come out at the most inopportune times was horribly depressing. Caan was my favorite character as the brain injured football player. Just like knight, You can't help but feel sorry for his innocence.
August 6, 2014
After the lukewarm response to Coppola's first big budget feature ("Finian's Rainbow"), Coppola attempted to go smaller again with this more indie feature about a woman who leaves her husband after discovering she is pregnant, and while traveling meets a former college football layer with brain damage, and a widower highway patrolman...and nothing good seems to come from her trip to get away. It is a sad little movie, but fans of the New Hollywood era may enjoy this character study from Francis Ford Coppola, if not just to see what the man directed before his next feature film, the all-time classic "The Godfather".
August 1, 2013
No lugar do road movie dramático, que se antecipou a toda uma década de 70 apaixonada pelo género, "The Rain People" será provavelmente o filme mais crucial para perceber que a sensibilidade de Coppola colocou-o muitas vezes uns quantos passos à frente dos restantes realizadores da sua geração (Scorsese, De Palma, Friedkin, Spielberg). Só um autor com o tacto muito apurado conseguiria envolver-se num drama tão profundo como "The Rain People" e, mesmo assim, esquivar-se de todas as armadilhas lamechas em que esse arriscava meter o pé. Não existe uma cena demasiado longa. Não há um personagem que esteja em excesso. Tudo isto é geometria dramática pela mão de quem a sabe explorar como um mestre (ao nível de Kurosawa ou De Sica). Os documentos dizem que o filme foi bastante incompreendido na sua estreia e primeiros anos, mas hoje há que lhe reconhecer uma importância esmagadora na formação de um código para o road movie que descreve algum processo emocional de quem pega no volante. "Five Easy Pieces" (1970), "Badlands" (1973) e "Paris, Texas" (1984): todos surgiram depois e todos lhe devem alguma coisa, mesmo que a reputação de "The Rain People" seja muito mais modesta que a de qualquer um dos três.
May 30, 2013
I didn't want to run away with you. I wanted to run away from you.

Natalie is in an unhappy marriage and recently discovers that she is pregnant. She decides to runaway and try to find herself. She feels that once she finds herself she'll know whether to keep the baby and continue the marriage or have an abortion and start life over. As she drives, she encounters a mentally retarded young man that she can't seem to get rid of. The young man will change her life forever.

"Go to hell. At least I know you'll be taken care of there."

Francis Ford Coppola, director of The God Father trilogy, Apocalypse Now, Bram Stoker's Dracula, Jack, The Rainmaker, Rumble Fish, The Outsiders, and Dementia 13, delivers The Rain People. The storyline for this picture is very well written and contains awesome characters. The acting is brilliant and the cast includes James Caan, Robert Duvall, Shirley Knight, and Tom Aldredge.

"Bitch, how many times do I have to tell you to stop talking like a little tramp?"

I DVR'd this picture off Turner Classic Movies (TCM) during a recent Robert Duvall marathon. I watched this picture first due to it being directed by the infamous Coppola. I will say this film is a masterpiece and truly underrated. Caan and Duvall are awesome and Knight delivers a classic lead character. I strongly recommend seeing this picture and potentially adding it to your DVD collection.

"Where would a dumb dumb like that get a thousand dollars?"

Grade: A
Super Reviewer
May 7, 2012
In the John Huston tradition of losers who take the road to find themsemelves, getting in contact with people with more and deeper needs to their pathetic and meaningless existence. Coppola's first mature plunge in filmmaking hits the right chords. He's both sensitive and crude, when needed for the sake of such a heartbreaking story.
February 1, 2012
amazing early effort from coppola caan & duval r hot!
December 29, 2011
A very good small film with excellent performances by Shirley Knight, James Caan and, most memorably in a small role, Robert Duvall. I was on the faculty with his brother Augie at CSULB when this was released. Augie got a copy and showed it to a strongly favorable reception. Now it is not even listed on Netflix as among his films he has directed even though they list other films of his not available. Too bad. I think it would find an audience if it were more easily available.
Super Reviewer
December 17, 2011
"Rebels on the road" films were all the rage in the late '60s, but "The Rain People" adds a twist: The rebel is somebody's wife, and she's driving a station wagon.

Shirley Knight is newly pregnant, and panicking about the responsibilities of settling down. She has so little sense of identity that she often talks about herself in the third person. While her husband is still asleep, she sneaks away with no clear destination in mind. Soon she picks up a hitchhiker with the ironic nickname "Killer" (James Caan, shorn of his trademark curls). Caan is a former college football star who suffered a career-ending head injury during a game. After some time in a menial job on campus, he left school. He has the vacant demeanor of someone with brain damage (he doesn't even remember how to play "Simon Says"), and others casually mislead and take advantage of him.

Knight picks him up, not realizing how alone and helpless he is. He proves harder to unload than expected, partly due to circumstance and partly due to her sympathy. Multiple efforts to secure him a niche fail (the most vivid sequence involves a sleazy poultry farmer whose overstuffed coop might not be allowed on film today), and Caan continues as her sidekick on a trip to nowhere. In the final act, she encounters a small-town highway cop (Robert Duvall) who becomes crucial to the film's climax.

Francis Ford Coppola's direction is solid, but does not mark him as a future giant. Realizing his story is minimal, he is content with a slow pace, lingering on driving footage and incidental behavior. The first four minutes don't even contain dialogue. His boldest choice is inserting various flashback fragments to fill in details from the characters' past lives -- this device works quite well, in a French New Wave mode. Meanwhile, all three central performances are striking. Caan's work is particularly impressive, given that he's limited to such a small emotional range in a role which easily could turn farcical.

Naturally, the presence of the young Coppola, Caan and Duvall is the most pressing reason to see this minor film (and of course, all three worked on "The Godfather" three years later). Another interesting tidbit is that George Lucas is credited as a "production associate," and in fact made a short documentary called "Filmmaker" about the shoot.

My own favorite touch: the roadside stop with a large sign boasting "FREE PICNIC TABLES."
November 14, 2011
Non uno dei miei preferiti del regista, ma abbastanza significativo.
June 10, 2011
An ugly fantasy that reveals the existence of bitterness in pureness.
½ March 2, 2011
One of Francis Ford Coppola's early films. It includes James Caan and Robert Duvall, who he will work with many times later on. If you are patient and can follow the meandering storyline (it is an odyssey film), you will enjoy this.
January 31, 2011
Early Coppola film is offbeat, and a little slow in its storytelling. Good performances from Caan and Knight but really kind of boring in parts. Many elements from this would later appear in Coppola's best film (my favorite movie ever made) RUMBLE FISH
January 2, 2011
early francis ford that gives a glimpse at genius rising an early treat!
½ December 22, 2010
(*** 1/2): Thumbs Up

Interesting and well-acted.
Super Reviewer
August 31, 2010
A languid, gently beautiful film that provides a lot of unique insight into over-explored themes. Coppola does fantastic things with cinematography and editing.
½ July 2, 2010
Housewife Natalie (Shirley Knight) discovers she is pregnant and strikes out on her own, hoping to escape the increasing responsibilities of her marriage. Even on the road, however, she finds it impossible to escape the needs of others - especially Killer (James Caan), a brain-injured football player ejected from school.

Director Coppola's fourth feature is a bit slow and meandering, but his eye for a striking shot is already clear. The road-picture plot is well supported by performances from Knight and future Coppola stalwarts Caan and Duvall.
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