Reign Over Me (2007) Poster

(2007)

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8/10
Powerful when it's being original
tyler-9213 March 2007
I just got back from a screening a couple of hours ago, and I was very happy with the movie when I left it. It's very intense, and the closest I've come to crying in a movie in quite some time. That is a credit to Adam Sandler, who delivers a magnificent performance on many levels, and who probably deserves an Oscar nom for it, were it not coming out so early in the year. Don Cheadle gives his usual superb performance playing the straight man to Adam's disturbed.

There is some humor, but most of it is really only funny in comparison to the tearjerking moments, as Adam deals with his loss and Don struggles to help him. Adam plays two levels very well... when he is mentally stable he is funny and likable, but when he is, well, less stable he's powerful and dark.

I recommend it for anyone who likes intense mental dramas about difficult friendship and loss.
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9/10
If you aren't moved....check your pulse.
Irishinvazion24 March 2007
It's not very often a movie can literally make the entire audience laugh, and five minutes later fill their eyes with tears. Many movies try to do this, but few can deliver the emotional impact that this film did. Adam Sandler practically drags you in with his heated and often violent outbursts, but also makes you laugh when the shadow of his past isn't pulling him down. I'm not going to ruin anything, but there is one scene in particular that should have your eyes watering and lip quivering. Even the most macho of men would have to be heartless bastards to not feel something while watching this movie. Don Cheadle gives another great performance, but is out-shined by Sandler. Liv Tyler and Jada Pinkett Smith give solid performances, but nothing in the line of the two leading roles. Sandler's humor is still present, which actually saved this film from being border-line depressing. There are several laughs to be had, but don't think you will stay there long, because it gets serious again without much warning.

I could go on and on about how well this movie hit on just about every emotion the human body contains, but I will cut this one short. I feel there is no need to tell you anything more. Do yourself a favor and take the time to see this movie. Even if you have to wait until it comes out on DVD, it's 100% worth the time. A deeply moving film sure to put tears in your eyes and a smile on your face...unless of course...you are a heartless soul.
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9/10
Remarkable film about Grief, Family, and Friendship
JustCuriosity15 March 2007
This film screened last night at Austin's Paramount theater as part of the SXSW Film Festival. We were graced with the presence of director Mike Binder and stars Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle who took audience questions after the film. It is a remarkable and powerful film about what it is like to lose yourself and begin to find your way back. The performances are phenomenal and the story manages to be both tragic and funny in a way that is all too rare. (The trailer for the film tries a little too hard to emphasize the comedic aspects.)

This is a breakout role for Adam Sandler. While he has begun to transition to more dramatic roles with Punch-Drunk Love and Spanglish, this role is a significant step forward for him as a dramatic actor. He deserves an Oscar nomination as he continues down to transition to more dramatic roles as Tom Hanks did and Jim Carrey is also doing. In this role, he seemed to be trying to channel Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. Although playing an autistic man is certainly very different than Sandler's traumatized character, both characters for different reasons are trapped in their own worlds of child-like isolation and confusion.

Don Cheadle's performance is less surprising, but just as good. After Hotel Rwanda and Crash, we've come to expect remarkable nuanced performances from Cheadle. He has the qualities of sincerity and honesty that comes through in this role. But he, too, is also broken and struggling if not in the such profound ways as Sandler's character. Cheadle is struggling with difficulties in both his marriage and in his professional life as a dentist. Together the characters played by Cheadle and Sandler struggle to heal each other in the way that true friends often do (in a way that reminds me of Matt Damon and Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting). They are both searching for that part of the themselves that they have lost and trying to find again.

Reign over Me is one of the best major studio films to be released this year. The soundtrack, which is almost another character in the plot is wonderful. The filming in the streets of New York - a city that suffered a great tragedy and has also had to heal itself - is also quite beautiful. The supporting roles by Jada Pinkett Smith, Liv Tyler, Saffron Burrows (in a very odd role), Donald Sutherland, and Mike Binder himself are all quite good.

Writer/Director Mike Binder has really delivered a story that so many will be able to connect with on numerous levels. This is a story about grief, family, healing, male friendship, mental health, and the meaning of love. Reign over Me does not disappoint. The film is almost hypnotic as it draws you into the lives of its characters. Hollywood would have a much better reputation if it made more character-driven charming films like Reign over Me.
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9/10
Can we get Chinese now?…Reign Over Me
jaredmobarak24 March 2007
Love hurts. That, I think, is the main message Mike Binder's newest film Reign Over Me brings across. Whether that love has caused your relationship to become stagnant, or has brought anger from the one you love cheating for years, or has broken your heart to the point of being unable to open yourself up to the world, love hurts. The great thing about this film, however, is not in its portrayal of these lost souls trying to let their past heartbreaks go, but in the eventual restart of new bonds for the future. No one in this drama is perfect; they are all at some degree trapped emotionally in relationships that they can't free themselves from alone. There is some heavy subject material here and I credit Binder for never making the story turn into a political diatribe, but instead infusing the serious moments with some real nice comedic bits allowing the tale to stay character-based and small in scale compared to the epic event that looms overhead. What could have become a trite vehicle for opinions on how 9-11 effected us all, ends up being a story about two men and a connection they share that is the only thing which can save their lives from a life of depression and regret.

This is a new career performance for Adam Sandler. I like to think that my favorite director Paul Thomas Anderson was the first to see the childish, pent-up anger in his stupid comedies as something to use dramatically. The juvenility of a character like Billy Madison allows for laughs and potty humor, but also can be used to show a repressed man, shy and shutout to the world around him—a man with no confidence that needs an event of compassion to break him from his shell. Anderson let Sandler do just that in his masterpiece Punch-Drunk Love and Mike Binder has taken it one step further. Sandler plays former dentist Charlie Fineman whose wife and three kids were killed in one of the planes that took down the World Trade Center on 9-11. That one moment crushed any life that he had and as a result, he became reclusive and started to believe he couldn't remember anything that happened before that day. He really delivers a moving portrait of a man trying to keep up the charade in his head while those around him, those that love him, try and open him up to the reality of what happened and what the future holds. Always on edge and ready to snap at any moment when something is mentioned to spark the memory of his perished family, he goes through life with his iPod and headphones, shutting out everything so as not to be tempted remember.

Reign Over Me is not about Charlie Fineman though, it is about dentist and family man Alan Johnson. A man that has trapped himself into a marriage and dental practice that both have stagnated into monotony, Johnson needs as much help in his life as his old college roommate Charlie does. Played perfectly by the always brilliant Don Cheadle, Johnson has lost his backbone to try and change his life. He has no friends and when he sees Charlie, by chance, one day, his life evolves into something he hasn't felt in 15 years. He revels in the chance to go out with an old friend no matter how much he has changed from the death of his family. Cheadle's character wants to revert back to the college days of hanging out and Sandler's doesn't mind because all that was before he met his wife. The two men get what they want and allow themselves to grow close despite the years of solitude that used to rule their lives. Once they begin opening up though, it is inevitable that the subject of the tragedy will creep up and test the façade they have created for themselves.

The supporting cast does an amazing job helping keep up appearances for the two leads. Jada Pinkett Smith has never been an actress that impressed me and throughout the film played the tough as nails wife nicely, but it is her final scene on the phone with Cheadle that really showed me something different and true. Liv Tyler is a bit out of her element as a psychiatrist, but the movie calls her on this fact and makes the miscasting, perfect casting. The many small cameos are also effective, even writer/director Mike Binder's role as Sandler's old best friend and accountant, (my only gripe here is why he feels the need to put his name in the opening credits as an actor when it is everywhere, considering it is his film). Last but not least is the beautiful Saffron Burrows. She is a great actress and plays the love- crushed divorcée trying to put her life back together wonderfully. A role that seems comic relief at first, but ends up being an integral aspect for what is to come.

Binder has crafted one of the best dramatic character studies I have seen in a long time. The direction is almost flawless, (the blurring between cuts and characters in the fore/ background really annoyed me in the beginning), the acting superb, and the story true to itself, never taking the easy way out or wrapping itself up with a neatly tied bow at the conclusion. Even the music was fantastic and used to enhance, not to lead us emotionally, (why after two great uses of the titular song by The Who did Binder feel the need to use the inferior Eddie Veddar remake for the end, I don't know, but it did unfortunately stick out for me). Reign Over Me is a film about love and how although it can cause the worst pain imaginable, it can also save us from regret and allow us to once again see the world as a place of beauty and hope.
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8/10
Good flick
xander3427 March 2007
Reign Over Me is a success due to the powerful work by Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle. While comedic actors going dramatic has been seen as somewhat of a distraction, Sandler is no stranger to playing more serious roles. Most of the characters he portrays have an unstable temperament and a vulnerability that can burst at any moment. He might even be typecast for characters with such hidden anger problems. However, this performance has some considerable dramatic weight, unlike his roles in less comedic fare like Punch-Drunk Love and Spanglish.

In the film, Alan Johnson (Cheadle) runs into his old college roommate, Charlie Finerman (Sandler), whom he hasn't seen in several years. Five years before, Charlie suffered the overwhelming loss of his wife and three daughters in a plane crash. Charlie barely even recognizes Cheadle's character due to the repression of his memories and consequent reclusive childish lifestyle since the accident. It isn't until Alan persists in engaging him in conversation that Charlie remembers who he is. Their renewed relationship that follows will allow Finerman to have a friend who doesn't speak about his loss, eventually enabling him to confront the thoughts and feelings he has suppressed on his own terms.

Though writer-director Mike Binder doesn't show much sense of an individual style and some of his shots and transitions are a bit awkward, he does have a knack of getting decent to great performances from his actors while being a talented and funny writer. He shot this film with a digital camera, as more and more filmmakers are doing today, enabling the crew to shoot the night scenes with limited lighting. This kept the colorful backgrounds of New York City in focus, but resulted in creating frequent digital grain, which resembles blue specks scattered and moving on the screen.

Almost every main character in Reign Over Me gives a great performance. Jada-Pinkett Smith and especially Liv Tyler are memorable in their respective roles as a frustrated wife to Cheadle's character and a psychiatrist. However, it is Sandler and Cheadle that give some of their finest work to date. They completely owned this movie. Sandler actually plays a character that doesn't outwardly resemble or act like himself at all, partially credited to his Bob Dylan-esquire wig. Though Cheadle's character has more screen time than Sandler, they both should be considered to be leading roles, as they equally support and help each other throughout the film.

Music also plays a great part in this film, especially the title song "Reign Over Me," or "Love, Reign O'er Me" by The Who, and later covered by Pearl Jam. In one of the most powerful moments of the film, Binder shows Sandler using music to shut out his feelings and memories, but this particular song provokes such intense emotion that rather than diminishing his anger, it incites his emotions. All an all, Reign Over Me is an enjoyable, sad, yet many times funny film, driven by its amazing leading performances.
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7/10
Stop Your Sobbin'
ferguson-623 March 2007
Greetings again from the darkness. How rare it is for a film to examine the lost soul of men in pain. Adam Sandler stars as Charlie, a man who lost his family in the 9/11 tragedy, and has since lost his career, his reason to live and arguably, his sanity. Don Cheadle co-stars as Sandler's former Dental School roommate who appears to have the perfect life (that Sandler apparently had prior to 9/11).

Of course the parallels in these men's lives are obvious, but it is actually refreshing to see men's feelings on display in a movie ... feelings other than lust and revenge, that is. Watching how they actually help each other by just being there is painful and heartfelt. Writer/Director Mike Binder ("The Upside of Anger", and Sandler's accountant in this film) really brings a different look and feel to the film. Some of the scenes don't work as well as others, but overall it is well written and solidly directed.

Sandler and Cheadle are both excellent. Sandler's character reminds a bit of his fine performance in "Punch Drunk Love", but here he brings much more depth. Cheadle is always fine and does a nice job of expressing the burden he carries ... just by watching him work a jigsaw puzzle.

Support work is excellent by Jada Pinkett Smith (as Cheadle's wife), Liv Tyler (as a very patient psychiatrist), Saffron Burrows (in an oddly appealing role), Donald Sutherland as an irritated judge and Melinda Dillon and Robert Klein as Sandler's in-laws.

The film really touches on how the tragic events of that day affected one man so deeply that he is basically ruined. In addition to the interesting story and some great shots of NYC, you have to love any film that features vocals from Chrissy Hynde, Bruce Springsteen and Roger Daltrey ... as well as Eddie Vedder impersonating Daltrey. Not exactly a chipper upbeat film, but it is a quality film with an unusual story.
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8/10
An Interesting Role
shizzoop27 March 2007
The feel of this movie was amazing. Adam Sandler's performance was very inspiring. As he played a very rattled and fragile character, he took his ability to the very edge and really worked the role. His character was really interesting. I can see myself reading the script for this movie and not being half as interested in the part as Sandler made me. For someone who plays primarily comedy roles, he pulled off a serious role with what seemed to be his own quirks and input. I especially loved the scene in which Adam and Don's characters rode the motorized scooter around the city. I familiarized with the moment, because it seemed like Don was witnessing one thing Adam does to get away from it all. With his video games, music, and many other things he does to keep him from thinking about the past, riding his scooter with his headphones on seemed like an escape from his thoughts. This movie is definitely worth the watch.
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10/10
Take a lesson from his movie
eyezcwith23 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Let me start by saying at the young age of 34 I was suddenly widowed. I was devastated as he was NOT sick--- he died unexpectedly basically of a coronary--- his carotids blew out-- he died behind our house. There was a lot of speculation from police, cause he fell on something and it bashed his head in. I was a suspect for murder until the autopsy came back.

My children were as traumatized as I was, so in love with a good father figure as he. I had three small children, no education, no financial support. I took it very, very hard.

Within two years my in-laws attacked me verbally, physically, emotionally and spiritually demanding I grieve not in front of the children, and put on masks and showed people what they wanted to see, not show them my pain during holidays... Nobody stood up for me and my choice to sit out one holiday, except of course, the grief therapist I was seeing that had advised me to follow my heart and soul. My in-laws didn't get it! It changed FOREVER my relationship with them, and I have never been back for a holiday. This is only one example of how my grief was disrespected! My own (new) husband has seen me fall apart talking about the trauma when I shared from my soul. I collapse, can not breathe, hyperventilate, and generally am defunct for a few days if I even try to convey the hidden pain.

Now about this movie...

Today, my soul was stirred, my heart broken. My fears and pain re-surfaced from the real demons this movie presents; how one grieves compared to how others expect us too and the demons within. Adam Sandler portrayed perfectly the horrendous agony you face, overcome and most of all, work through on your own time! This movie dredged up all the pain that I have tried over the years to deal with. You see, when something harms your soul so profoundly, so deep that utterances are all that come from your mouth in moments of thinking, you can not deal with it without wishing you were dead and walking through life, in a dead state.

The bible has a scripture, Romans 8:26 that I have clung to, that when my mouth and soul know not what to pray for, that God's Holy Spirit carries that agony to the feet of God-- I need not speak. Sandler portrayed that to perfection!

There is a scene where he has been hauled into a court hearing, for mental health commitment purposes, and he goes back in to face his in-laws--- (familiar to me)--- and he tells them the stunning truths that he has been possessed by, per Se, that he can't get over. It's a profoundly strong, and mighty performance. I started bawling and had a hard time after wards getting up to walk out from the theater feeling my legs too weak to do so. My son was with me and saw it first hand, my precise motions while trying to hold it all together; a lesson for him, my youngest who barely remembers his daddy. It's been 13 years for me but this movie brought me back to the moment of losing my in-laws forever when they demanded a mask on my emotions and my surrendering to their desires, instead of respect to my own.

I write this, so that if you are a griever, you are prepared for this movie, but recommend it highly in the 1000 star performance Sandler gave.

If you are not yet a griever, please take a lesson from his movie and just listen and accept people's choices in their grief, letting them find peace in their own time! Sometimes, the soul can not utter the words to convey our pain.

Go see this movie with tissues and not without preparing to take it in... to your soul!
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10/10
Great
NickBurr200323 March 2007
This Movie was amazing, it is the kind of movie where you watch it and rather than look at other movies by actor you look at other movies by director/ writer. Sandler did a good job working a character outside of his comfort zone and the always good Cheadle did a great job too. This movie is great for a mature intelligent audience. The acting was fantastic and can only be surpassed by the Writing and directing of the film. This film focuses on the real Americans, the past generation, no stereotypes or Racism just people who have come together and realized the true meaning of life. This film is about loss and coping. Instead of picking on Psychiatry, it defines it, not as someone who heals you magically, but rather through the necessity of talking out your feeling to an impartial someone you can trust will not judge you, but rather will guide you though your thoughts. This movie is all round amazing!
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9/10
The Best Serious Adam Sandler Role
infernofilms0023 March 2007
Reign Over Me (titled after the who song) is a movie that is sure to bring a tear to almost everyone's eye. It was a moving story of a guy (sandler) that lost his family in the 9-11 world trade center attacks. Years later, he runs into an old college roommate (cheadle) that he doesn't even recognize due to the post-dramatic stress ensued by the loss of his family. The two rekindle their old friendship and Cheadle's character, Johnson, realizes that he must get Sandler's character, Fineman, some help before it's too late.

This was the first movie that has made me cry in a long time. It's completely worth watching and after seeing it, I'm positive the viewer will appreciate his or her family much more.
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9/10
An unexpected good dark comedy/drama from Sandler
blaccjesus13 March 2007
I saw this at a screening last night too. I was totally blown away at how much better this movie was than what I expected. Not many movies can combine dark comedy and current event drama and not have it fall apart in the conclusion.

I won't bother rehashing the plot too much because I think the less you know about this movie going into it makes it that much better. But I will say that Adam Sandler's performance was really refreshing and real. He was funny, and much funnier than most of his most recent comedies. Don Cheadle was believable as always.

This movie isn't funny like Borat or Billy Madison but it has a good pace about it. I'd say 90% of the audience laughed for most of the film. Midway through the movie slows down to address the drama end of things and does a really nice job of tying it all together.

I also thought it was really cool how instead of playing up the whole black friend/white friend thing they chose to just ignore it and focus on the relationships themselves.
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8/10
Impressed with Sandler
burtnyk-260-9818929 September 2012
I can't say I'm a fan of Adam Sandler, the comedian, but I CAN say, the fact that I stayed up until 1 in the morning to finish watching this film means that I was totally caught up in it and in Sandler's surprisingly mature and moving performance. The end kind of drags on a bit, like they weren't quite sure how to wrap it up. Ironically reminiscent of most current SNL skits; they just don't know when to quit. But for Sandler to exercise the restraint he did (as a comedian) was no small feat and I was thoroughly impressed by his skill as a serious actor (I couldn't believe how effortlessly he seemed to be able to emote with real tears). Good for him! It might be nice to see him try his hand at other serious roles. If you happen to see it on TV, don't pass it up.
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Reign Over You
Chrysanthepop18 March 2008
I would never have expected much from a film starring Adam Sandler, Saffron Burrows, Liv Tyler and Jada Pinkett Smitn. Not that they're bad actors by any means. It's just that I have hardly found any movie that centred around their characters interesting at all. This is Sandler's first dramatic performance I've seen (mind you, I have not seen 'Punch Drunk Love' yet). The addition of Don Cheadle makes a difference where expectations were concerned but it is Sandler who springs a surprise with a very effective performance of a former dentist suffering from a severe form of post-traumatic stress disorder while coping, or more correctly, not coping with the loss of his family and living in a self-imposed isolation. His nuanced performance is a combination of restraint and subtle comedy. There are moments when he 'explodes' but it applies well to the context and Sandler stays within character. This is not to say that Cheadle was less impressive. The reason why he's less surprising is that one can almost always expect a good performance from this actor. What makes 'Reign Over Me' work most is Sandler and Cheadle's on screen camaraderie as they share the right chemistry. Cheadle's character too is suffering a difficult marriage and complications at work and his reunion with Sandler's Charlie provides a form of escape but at the same time helps him to deal with his own problems. This way both friends gradually find that pieces of themselves which they have long lost. Liv Tyler does well as Alon's (confidant) friend. Jada Pinkett Smith is quite adequate. Saffron Burrows is weird in an odd role but her sequences do provide comic relief. Melinda Dillon has a small but complex role and she shines. I liked the soundtrack very much. Not only are the tracks impressive, it also gives a voice to New York (a city which suffered the same tragedy as Charlie) and flows brilliantly with the film. Binder's direction is solid for the most part. However, the inclusion of a courtroom sequence (including the whole Donald Sutherland track) seems forced and makes 'Reign Over Me' slightly clichéd. Perhaps this integral sequence could have been done a little different, without involving a courtroom. Nonetheless, 'Reign Over Me' has heart and it does tackle several different concepts in a subtle and suitable way. The way the comedy was wonderfully layered into the screenplay is quite an achievement for Binder. Strongly recommended.
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10/10
Heartbreaking, Deep, Provocative--- "Reign Over Me" is further proof of Adam Sandler's Talent as a Dramatic Actor
MaximumMadness3 October 2012
9/11 is a day that will live in the hearts and minds of everyone around the world. It was a day of change, heartbreak and for many people, it was a day of uniting with others to seek solace, compassion and strength. And the events of that day form of the backbone of Mike Binder's astonishingly powerful film "Reign Over Me", starring Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle.

Sandler plays Charlie Fineman, a young man whose wife and children were on one of the planes that hit the World Trade Center on September the 11th, 2001. His whole world destroyed, he broke down, and retreated into himself, becoming an odd hermit and recluse. He constantly obsesses over re-doing the remodeling in his apartment and playing the video game "Shadow of the Colossus." (Fans of the game will understand how symbolic and provocative this detail is, and how important it is to the story.) Charlie is barely able to function in any sort of social norm, suffering bizarre outbreaks of anger and paranoia, and is almost completely unable to hold a normal conversation.

Cheadle plays Alan Johnson, a dentist who was friends and roommates with Fineman in college. Johnson is a normal man dealing with normal problems- turbulence in his family life, the death of his elderly father, and the bizarre affections of a patient whom has fallen for him despite the fact he is married and won't cheat on his wife.

After a chance encounter on the street leads to Johnson and Fineman reconnecting, the film plays out as a heartbreaking-yet-hopeful Odyssey as Johnson tries his best to help Fineman rebuild his life, while trying to repair his own life at the same time.

Other roles include Jada Pinkett Smith as Janeane, Alan's wife. Liv Tyler as a psychologist Alan is familiar with whom decides to try and help Charlie, and supporting roles by Donald Sutherland, director Mike Binder, Ted Raimi, Saffron Burrows and others.

This is very much an actor's movie. There are no big action sequences or laugh-out-loud set-pieces. This is a subtle picture about the way lines are delivered and the twitches and undertones of the faces of the performers. And everyone in this film is remarkable. From tiny roles played by Binder, Raimi, Burrows, etc. Everyone delivers fine performances.

But Sandler and Cheadle are the heart of the film, and I honestly feel both deserved Oscar Nods for their work here. Cheadle says so much in role, and it was an admirable, strong performance. And Sandler continues to prove his talent as a dramatic actor, after his appearance in the incredible "Punch Drunk Love." Sandler lets Fineman envelope him and he transforms himself so much, he's near unrecognizable from his normal comedic roles. Sandler is a revelation in this role.

Everything else about the film is top notch. From wonderful, subtle direction to a heartbreaking and heat re-building script to some truly astonishing music, this is a darned-near-perfect film.

I adore this movie. "Reign Over Me" is a triumph of human drama and I'd highly recommend it. An obvious 10 out of 10.
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8/10
One of my personal favorites.
TheFunkyBass14 August 2013
I'm a big fan of The Who and when I heard there was a movie with the title of my favorite song from my favorite band, I went nuts. And when I heard the main protagonist is Adam Sandler, I got disappointed. But then again, I remembered he played a very dramatic moment in the climax of "Click". I used to think Sandler wasn't made for acting, but I've never been so wrong in my life. He played the sh*t out of his roll in "Reign Over Me".

The soundtrack is outstanding as always in all of Sandler's films. I swear Sandler and I have the exact same taste in music. His performance throughout the movie was top notch, even his humor was present, but the monologue in which Sandler's character tells his story was just sublime.

The plot and the character development was excellent. Though, the ending left a lot to be desired.

Overall, this movie was brilliant. Mike Binder, the writer/director of the film, I tip my hat to you.
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8/10
Unbelievable! Sandler can act!
Targe10 April 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I was blown away by Adam Sandler actually pulling off solid acting! He didn't slip into any of his trademark SNL voices ONCE! This movie is the best 911 treatment I have seen so far, and really shows the greater impact victims of that day face, as they get bombarded with reminders in the media every day, especially in New York.

Don Cheadle is brilliant as the good-looking dentist with the patient who has a crush on him.

Don plays an old college chum of Sandler's character, who runs into him again a few years after his friend tragically lost his entire family during the 911 event. After trying and failing to get his friend help several times, he realizes the best way is just to be his friend.

A very strong performance from Sandler, who demonstrates he can actually act in a serious role. His anger and frustration comes across as believable, as he flies into uncontrolled rage whenever anyone mentions 911 or his family (or anything to do with his former life as a dentist).

Supporting roles are also strong, with the gorgeous Liv Tyler playing the one psychologist who makes any headway with Sandler's character, and Donald Sutherland playing the judge forced to choose if the troubled man should be institutionalized.

A good movie for couple night on the couch, and a treat to finally see Adam Sandler begin to mature as an actor.
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8/10
A melancholy, heart-tugging, honest response to 9/11
secondtake19 June 2012
Reign Over Me (2007)

This might be the best movie to deal with the 9/11 attacks out there. At first that isn't clear, but once you are done you realize that's all that matters. Out of nowhere, a tragedy and its personal consequences.

Of course, this is also a movie about a very unselfish friendship. Don Cheadle leads this movie top to bottom (this is the Adam Sandler movie that is really a Don Cheadle movie). And his unshakeable kindness and patience with ex-roommate Sandler is beautifully rendered. Cheadle's acting has a whole range of subtle gestures and hesitations that are clearly his, beyond what any director might offer. As the successful dentist in his late model Volvo wagon, he represents what Sandler, the man suffering from loss and psychological instability, once had.

Sandler is sort of perfect as a choice in this role partly because he's cast against type and that's the dynamic of the movie--a man who should be very different from what you see. The whole time you can picture the lively loving Sandler, and not the wreck before you. He plays the part with the quirks and inwardness you might expect, and it's not quite brilliant. He ends up supporting the shine of Cheadle's lead.

Another aspect to the movie, probably not unintended, is the beauty of New York, and the romantic lure of its ordinary streets. There are no landmarks here, just regular life in regular Manhattan.

The one slight drag on the whole affair, and I'm not sure how this could have been avoided without a wholly different plot, is the attempts to bring Sandler out of his hole. One aspect is professional psychiatry, which makes sense, and is pretty well done. (I found the depiction of an accomplished shrink by Liv Tyler really good.) But the other aspect, meant I suppose to add some spice to the cast, is the nutty and sharply beautiful presence of an outlier character, a woman who just happens along first into Cheadle's world and then by extension (and some unbelievable coincidence) into Sandler's. Saffron Burrows plays the part well but it seems forced into the scene--at times funny and poignant but, as with several other minor characters like the in-laws, mostly caricatured or out of place.

Not that anything is ever quite out of place in fiction. Fiction with a strong strain of truth giving it its depth. Director and writer Mike Binder has managed to pull together a gem that refers, ever so gently, to 9/11, and to some deeply caring New Yorkers who all, as a larger group, all suffered from the attacks. "Reign over Me" did not get the attention you might have expected. It's possibly because it's such a depressing movie, whatever its upbeat moments. But it's beautifully sad, like maybe we imagine some of the best European films to be, and I really recommend it on those terms.
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1/10
Full of good intentions... and yet such a BAD movie
niuqniuq7 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
The dialogues are awful, the characters not likable at all, everything sounds so fake and phony, even feelings, especially sad feelings. And so many explanations... everything gets explained, even after Sandler finally speaks about his dead family to Don Cheadle, he has to explain "I don't like to remember" while Liv Tyler (the most improbable psychiatrist in the whole movie history - possibly worse than J. Lo in "The Cell") stands there gaping. The movie has no rhythm, there is absolutely no building of tension - neither dramatic nor romantic - the situations are all highly improbable. The Saffron Burrows story bears no resemblance to anything remotely possible - gorgeous woman coming from a tragic marriage asks her dentist to please let her give him a blow-job, he refuses, she threatens him with a false accusation of trying to rape her, then repents her behavior, withdraws her threats and then - Lo and behold! - becomes eligible as the next sweetheart of said dentists' loony friend. I read a comment here going "If you are not moved by this, check your pulse". Well, my pulse is working fine, thank you very much, but to feel moved by a story I need to be able to identify at least a little bit with at least ONE of the characters. The whole story looks like the result of reading too many Readers' Digest psychoanalytic articles. The 9/11 issue looks like a base way of captivating the audience's favors - certainly not mine. I only wonder why among Post-Vietnam movies there are so many masterpieces, while post-9/11 movies have yet to produce something decent. What is happening to American movies? Where have all the great directors gone? Awful, from A to Z - and beyond.
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8/10
deserves it's high score!
movie-rich25 April 2011
I stumbled across this movie having never previously heard of it, I was at first sceptical of Adam Sandler playing a lead role in drama albeit alongside Don Cheadle, an actor I admire greatly. As story unfolds we are shown the stark contrasts in the lives of these two characters who were once so similar in dental school together. There lives followed the same pattern even after losing touch once graduated until the morning of September 11th 2001 where Sandler loses his whole family. The story is a touching journey of how Cheadle and Sandler find each other and reconnect, at the same time allowing each other to escape there own problems in their lives. Cheadle as per delivers a great performance, surprisingly Sandler portrays the role fantastically. In one particular scene he finally opens up to Cheadle and tells his tale of sorrow which is one of the most powerfully acted and most moving pieces of film i have seen recently. A definite must see, must be made clear this is not a story about 9/11, that being very scarecly mentioned, it is however the story of these two men coming together and finding friendship, allowing them to rely on each other.
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7/10
Consequences of a Tragedy
claudio_carvalho1 January 2008
In New York, the family man dentist Alan Johnson (Don Cheadle) meets his former roommate and friend Charlie Fineman (Adam Sandler) by chance on the street. Charlie became a lonely and deranged man after the loss of his wife and three daughters in the tragic September 11th while Alan has problems to discuss his innermost feelings with his wife. Alan reties his friendship with Charlie and they become close to each other. Alan tries to fix Charlie's life, sending him to the psychologist Angela Oakhurst (Liv Tyler), but Charlie has an aggressive reaction to the treatment and is send to court.

"Reign Over Me" is a good drama about loss, friendship, family and loneliness. The September 11th is irrelevant to the plot; it could be a car accident, a fire or any other tragedy, as well as the sexual harassment of Donna Remar, played by the gorgeous Saffron Burrows, to Alan. But the family drama works, supported by the great performances of Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle. Liv Tyler is quite impossible to be recognized, I do not know whether she is using excessive make-up to look older, but her face is weird. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Reine Sobre Mim" ("Reign Over Me")
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9/10
A thoughtful and at times insightful film.
joec41924 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
There may be spoilers!

Charlie Fineman (Adam Sandler), who lost his family in a tragedy, (the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11), still grieves over their deaths. He runs into his former college roommate, Alan Johnson (Don Cheadle), and the two rekindle their friendship. Alan vows to help his old friend come to terms with the terrible loss. This is a simplification of the basic story of Reign Over Me.

This movie is, however, a story of how fate intercedes in our lives when we ourselves may be powerless do any thing about our own states of being. Alan is stuck in a life that he knows is no longer fulfilling. He feels friendless and out of touch with his own reality. He is unable to communicate with his wife and his associates at work. He can't express his feelings and as a result feels lost and distant from his own world. He chances upon Charlie on the streets of Manhattan while driving from his job. Eventually he meets and discovers that Charlie, (who originally does not remember Alan), is living in a false reality of his own. Charlie has gone back to a time in his life when he had no family. He lives as if he were still a student playing in a rock band, collecting vinyl records of the 60s and 70s bands, and playing video games. He has escaped to a better and safer time in his life where there are no bad guys and he has a lot less to lose. Everyone in this movie is affected in some way by the tragedy that has affected Charlie and his remission to a formerly different and better (?) place. His landlady is his protector and great enabler. His in-laws are subtracted from his life because they would take him back to the reality that his family is now gone from his life. And Alan is most affected by him because Alan wants to, (in at first a selfish desire to escape from his own reality) to be with Charlie as a means to subtract himself from his own stifled reality and then he wants to find a way to help Charlie begin to recover from his self-induced guilt and denial of loss. It is through this relationship that not only is Charlie able to begin to heal himself but that Alan, in fact, learns to communicate and sate his true desires with his associates at work and, eventually, is able to admit to his wife he has not been able to communicate his real feelings to her but that he strongly wants to because he does love her. It is in fact a poignant moment in the film when the stuff has hit the fan and Charlie is being confronted with the reality of being put away that he and Alan are talking about the situation together over "Chinese" that Charlie states that he is in fact worried about Alan and not himself.

This movie will, if you let it, take you through a river of emotions and leave you thinking. It will have you laughing at how Charlie uses his words, like people really do in everyday life, to make a comical statement of fact about a real situation. It will leave you on the verge of tears, (in my case actual tears), when Charlie confronts his grief and begins to come to grips with his tremendous loss. And that in fact the tragic reality is his guilt and loss has really never left him and he dealt with it in the only way he knew: denial. It will make you curse at the cold, unthinking actions of a young prosecutor trying to win his "case", (as I actually did at Charlie's hearing!) And it will make you smile at the commonsense of a old and wise, stern judge, (Donald Sutherland who is great at his short distinct role and gives the best performance of a wise, stern person in the legal profession since Wilford Brimley played an Assistant Attorney General in Absence of Malice.)

This movie was also amazing to me for a few other reasons: (1) I never looked at my watch once during the showing of the film. Which means it had me from the beginning to the end, (2) Although the cast was interracial, this fact was not important to the playing out of the roles of the characters in the film. Race was a non-factor to the performance of the roles in this movie. Amazing people can actually interact with out this fact being brought out! and (3) the only real reference to 9/11 is when Charlie's financial attorney refers to the tragedy of Charlie's loss as "…what Charlie had become on 9/12". Time will be the true test of how this movie will stand out in the future but if the purpose of a movie is not to just entertain but to make one think and have that movie stay with you long after you leave the theatre then Reign Over Me succeeded phenomenally as far as I am concerned. I have not yet forgotten this wonderful thought provoking film and I will wait impatiently for the day I can purchase it as a DVD.
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4/10
Shadow of the Shadow of the Colossus.
ilikepuppies9 April 2007
Warning: Spoilers
These filmmakers took so many shortcuts that I left the theater with more questions than you can shake a stick at:

-Does simply involving 9/11 in the back-story really expose the viewer's emotional nerves, leading to a more engaging tearjerker?

-Are (1) nervous fidgeting and (2) lack of eye contact all an actor really needs to portray any neuroses at all?

-Are people really that attached to their Ipods so much that they expect to see the Ipod display that accompanies each soundtrack offering?

-If the music video montage is really an engaging experience, why was it abandoned long ago by it's main pusher (MTV)?

-Is "broken heart" a viable diagnosis for any psychological condition, at least cinematically speaking?

-Did the casting agent not know that placing a mediocre actor (Sandler) across from a fine one (Chaedle) exposes the lesser's lack of ability?

-Is the showing of a movie audience enjoying themselves supposed to trick us (as movie audience) into joining them in their enjoyment?

-What scenes could have possibly been left on the cutting room floor that would have transformed the truly disturbed fellatio fetishist into a reasonable love-interest?

This last question hints at the film's worst failure, that of the terrible editing. Then again, it's not so much that the editor did a poor job. It's more that the task was one hell of a mountain to climb for any editor. What a jumbled mess of discontinuity.

They simply tried to do too many things here, being forced into a variety of shortcuts as a result.

One last question: Does the video game really pass as a non-laughable metaphor for our main character fighting his personal demons?

Discuss.
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8/10
Sandler & Cheadle give excellent performances in this hit-and-miss dramedy
george.schmidt27 March 2007
Warning: Spoilers
REIGN OVER ME (2007) *** Adam Sandler, Don Cheadle, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Liv Tyler, Saffron Burrows, Donald Sutherland, Robert Klein, Melinda Dillon, Mike Binder, Jonathan Banks, Rae Allen, Paula Newsome. At times affecting and at times middling dramedy about a thoroughly depressed man who lost his family on 9/11 (Sandler in his best role since "Punch-Drunk Love") who winds up re-united with his old college roommate and friend (Cheadle continuing to do impressive work with every role to date), a well-to-do dentist who seems to have it all – family, wealth, happiness – but really sees an ally in freedom with his troubled friend's own personal life offerings. Written and directed by Binder (who co-stars as Sandler's former-best friend and acting accountant) with equal parts humor and genuine heartache the film works best when the two stars share the screen until the last act falls into an almost movie-of-the-week treacle with to tidy a solution to the matters at hand.
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3/10
Kind of lame and boring to be honest
knowingwhat4 April 2008
The movie is about a guy who experienced loss because of 911. Sadly, the only reason the movie has high ratings is because nobody wants to give a movie involving 911 a low score but honestly it wasn't very exciting.

Basically it's about a guy who doesn't want to talk about his past and people are worried about him.... big deal.

Really, I don't blame them for using 911 but really, they could have done a lot better.

To be honest, you should spend time with your family or friends instead of watching this one.
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2/10
Contrived manipulation
innerglowsurfaces29 October 2007
Please don't waste your time on this drivel. I thought this movie would be watchable. I respect Don Cheadle and Donald Sutherland's work, even if I was unsure of a dramatic Adam Sandler.

It is not the acting that fails so hard, it is the writing. The plot fails on so many levels that the writers must have gotten confused toward the end of the middle when the whole thing went beyond falling apart. Up until then, this movie could have been a 4 or even a 4.5, but man did it spiral out of control with unnecessary, non-sequitur emotional roller coastering plot twists (and character twists).

It also is disturbing how the profession of psychology continues to be destroyed by Hollywood films. Reign Over Me has its therapist behaving in reprehensible ways that would be considered unprofessional and counter-therapeutic at best.

Don Cheadle was good, and they got their bang for their buck with Sutherland's eyebrows, but I am sure he was reading off cue cards because he wouldn't have done this thing if he had read the script. At least he only had to waste one day "acting" on this set.

If you are going to do a movie about losing people in 9/11 have some respect for the subject matter and write a decent film.
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