By: Alli Messick
Coppola’s The Rain People is a solemn, slow paced, and detailed road film, showing the unknown when someone is wondering throughout life. Shirley Knight plays Natalie, a young and married woman who just found out she is pregnant and trying to cope with her life. Natalie seems to be an unstable, or at least unsure person. Knight nails her character with this by showing every different kind of emotion.
From the opening scene of the film it is evident that it will be a different kind of movie. There was no music for the first 15 minutes, and after that the only music with words was when the radio was playing in the background. This put an emphasis on Natalie’s mind. It makes you think of the saying “the silence is deafening.”
The unknown is a scary thing. This is a big part of the movie, and it makes it super relatable in a scary way. Everyone at some point in their life reevaluates where he or she is and tries to determine if they are happy with what they have achieved. It would be very troubling if you woke up one day and decided you did not like where your life is going. This is what happened to Natalie.
For most people, running away from your life is never a possibility, more a fantasy. The Rain People gives the audience a story that they can relish on for days after viewing it. It opens up the minds of the viewers and gives them an outcome that is tragic, but thrilling in the process.
The Rain People had multiple flashbacks to Killer’s football days and Natalie’s wedding. These were a great way to give a background without spending too much time doing so. There was no need to have dialogue in the flashbacks because of the spot-on emotions and acting of Shirley Knight and James Caan.
The film focuses well on the road characteristic of its plot. Road films are films that include a character leaving his or her home in order to “find themselves” or take a break. Natalie leaves out to simply take a break and figure out if she wants to be a mother and a wife. Her mindset is very much what the new generation is acquiring- the wife will have a job, the wife will only sometimes cook, the wife will drive herself around. Because of this, the younger generations will appreciate this film.
The movie focuses somewhat on Killer’s mental disability. It gives an audience unfamiliar with mental disabilities a look at how difficult it is to handle someone with these handicaps. However, it shows that although these people may not be “normal”, they still have compassion and affection that should never be overlooked. Killer gives his life in order to save Natalie’s. That is the noblest thing anyone can do, so for anyone who does not find interest in enabling the mentally impaired, they should watch this film.