Reign Over Me - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Reign Over Me Reviews

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Super Reviewer
April 23, 2012
Such a good change of the normal Sandler filck. This was really heartfelt and emotional. Sandler shows he's got real acting chops and show people in the real road, which I am a fan of. Amazingly talented cast. Another change from the average Sandler flick.
Super Reviewer
½ February 19, 2011
Very moving and touching but I do prefer Adam in more comedic rules.
Super Reviewer
½ November 13, 2007
So, did you like Adam Sandler's serious work in Punch-Drunk Love? You didn't see it/thought it was too similar to his comedic work with little drama? Well, how about Spanglish? You didn't see it/wanted to see him do it with a bigger role? If you answered the latter to one or both questions, and you haven't seen Reign Over Me... why are you reading this review? It can't be that you haven't heard about it.

Well, if you haven't, here's a brief rundown of the story: dentist Alan Johnson (Don Cheadle, who needs to be a bigger name. Now) runs into his old college roommate Charlie Fineman (Adam Sandler who by now should convince people at large he can do serious work) , who seems distant and depressed in contrast to the man about town, happy-go-lucky man Alan knew of yesteryear. Alan later discovers that Charlie's family died in 9/11 and in those five years, Charlie's just withdrawn into himself and cut off ties with anyone who knew his wife and daughter. Both men spend time rekindling their friendship and searching within themselves and each other for what they need to overcome.

Like I said, Don Cheadle is wonderful. His character is not just well played, he's sharply written. Anytime an uncomfortable situation comes up, like talking to his wife (Jada Pinkett Smith) about a woman, Melanie (Paula Newsome) trying to seduce him, he reacts in a calm and rational matter, no stuttering or violent rage. That's who he is, a peacekeeper. And he's under a lot of pressure. His marriage isn't all that it could be, due to lack of communication with his wife; Melanie is suing him for advances SHE made, due to her obsession with him; and when Charlie re-enters his life, it just hits him how much Charlie just seems to have given up on life.

Speaking of Charlie, Adam Sandler plays this role similar to the one he played in Punch-Drunk Love only with more depression fueled rage as opposed to eccentric fueled rage. While that too is one of my favourite movies, I wouldn't disagree if someone said it was essentially Adam's man-child humor with a slight more serious focus. But it's here where his anger and blue mouth work best. Charlie's on a self destructive path, and lives in his own little world, because the real one is something he's not ready to re-embrace. He may seem self-involved but that's because by opening up to people and connecting with people, in particular those who knew his family, he leaves himself vulnerable to thinking of them again.
This leads to a court case to determine whether or not he needs to be placed under someone else's care due to his lifestyle possibly endangering others and it is the most powerful sequence in the movie, no question. Charlie's family keep being brought up, with her parents right there in court, showing pictures of Charlie's wife and daughter and Charlie's about ready to burst. I couldn't help but be sucked into that, I'm on his side all the way.

And on a smaller note, how awesome is Donald Sutherland? He only gets the court room scenes to act in but he acts the Hell out of them. Yes, he's made some crap but so have a lot of actors and I've forgiven them.

One more thing about the courtroom scenes and why I like them: think of Big Daddy. Most times when an Adam Sandler character has to deliver the big dramatic speech, all the wacky cameo characters return to support the big moment even if his character is as thick is a brick-constructed building holding bricks (Billy Madison is a prime offender but gets off by being talked down to in such an epic manner). But all it is, after the jokes, is one big dramatic "look at me, I can be serious for a moment!" schtick. Dude, forget it, you made the whole thing a farce. But here, you're not laughing now. You want to leap to his defense and get him out of there as soon as possible. It really is a nice contrast to all these antics in previous Sandler films. It's funny a couple of times but after a while, it's time to retire the schtick.

If you haven't seen anything I suggested at the beginning that could convince you Adam can blend his silly voices with confronting drama, go with this. Or Funny People. Either way, prepare to be amazed.
Super Reviewer
½ March 21, 2007
You can't fault this movie for having good intentions. It trys to present an honest and sincere portrait of how friendship can help heal some seriously deep wounds and resolve some problematic issues. This film should be commended for that, especially as it uses 9/11 as the source of this pain and grief. Once again, Sandler enters the world of drama, this time channeling Blonde on Blonde era Bob Dylan. He makes a terrific effort to pull of the incredibly difficult role of Charlie, a man who lost his wife, three children, and dog in one of the plane crashes on 9-11-2001, and has become so far removed from society he has shut out everyone connected to his loss. Sandler is mostly successful, but doesn't quite yet have the chops to pull it off perfectly. Regardless, I thought he did a really good job. Don Cheadle is also really good as Charlie's old college room mate who he reconnects with quite by accident. Alan really wants to help Charlie, and in trying to do so, learns to start coping with his own problems. Jada Pinkett Smith is decent, if underused. Liv Tyler is also good, but I would have liked to have seen more of her as well. Saffron Burrows steals a few scenes, and I understood the connection the filmmakers were trying to make between her character and Sandler's character, but they should have been more clear for those who may not have caught on. Despite these nitpicks, they aren't the biggest issue that keep the movie from being what it could and should have been. The tone is uneven, as is the pacing. The film also runs a tad too long. While I did enjoy this movie, I thought the story overall could have been handled better-especially the third act. Restructuring the film would really help in this department. So yeah, despite the problems plaguing this film, it is still very moving and entertaining, and I give it a mild recommendation. B-.
Super Reviewer
½ April 4, 2007
It was an interesting idea to catch the knock on effects from the 911 tradegy, that are still with people in many ways today and centering this around one person's grief really shows the feeling of how big this still is.

It has to be said that Adam Sandler did (I feel) give his best at making this a serious role, but perhaps a mixture of knowing his comedic roles for so long and that it came across more like an impression of a character, rather than becoming the character himself, was a big thumbs down.

In contrast, it almost seemed too easy a role for Don Cheadle to take on, so not his finest moment, but an enjoyable role.

Watchable, but not necessarily believable.
Super Reviewer
February 5, 2010
I thought that the acting was fantastic by all of the cast, and the story was just terrific, and it had just the right amount of laughs to not get depressed from the story. This was a very solid film!
Super Reviewer
½ August 4, 2007

Why wouldn't he make more movies like this one ?
Super Reviewer
April 4, 2008
This is a wonderful movie. Adam Sandler in a serious role about his struggle to deal with the grief of losing his entire family in the 9/11 attack. Sandler is just barely holding himself together when he meets his college roommate (Don Cheadle) who actually is not doing so hot himself. Both men benefit from their friendship.

I was totally impressed with Sandler's acting in this film. Certainly different than his norm.
Super Reviewer
½ May 27, 2009
Don Cheadle is amazing in this supporting role. Adam Sandler is, at first glance, good, but upon closer observation, he's just playing adjectives - loud, catatonic, offended - not actions. As with Binder's The Upside of Anger, the plot is uneven and sometimes unrealistic for the sake of emotional impact. There are some truly beautiful moments though - Charlie and Alan riding through the city, Charlie kissing his mother-in-law at the end. Reign Over Me starts off strong, dips dangerously close to "capitalizing on a tragedy" territory, then finishes okay.
Clintus M.
Super Reviewer
May 13, 2009
This portrait of grief and misunderstanding was difficult to bear. Cheadle once again proves his ability, and Sandler is effective, definitely a far cry from his early-career juvenile hijinks. No loss so sudden or tragic as Sandler's character's is easily resolved, but this character is impossible to understand or really empathize with. The crushing weight of his emotional instability and Cheadle and others' attempts to help will leave you thoroughly spent.
Super Reviewer
November 25, 2007
Beautiful and heartbreaking. Wonderfully done in all aspects.
Super Reviewer
½ February 8, 2009
The first mainstream post 9/11 drama has Adam Sandler in a serious role. Ok, you're thinking that he's not up for it and all that you can wait for is another goofy performance. He already has "Punch-Drunk Love" to prove that he can put aside the Sandler we're used to and give a touching performance.

Charlie Fineman (Sandler) has lost his family on one of the planes that the terrorist used to attack the US citizens. Now he lives on the benefits of the insurances and spends his days collecting vinyls and playing "Shadow of the Colossus" (thanks to the director for the homage, great game).

Alan Johnson (Don Cheadle) is a dentist who's not entirely satisfied with his job. He also has his own personal issues. One day he meets his old collage roommate, Charlie, and decides to focus on helping him confront his grief.

Cheadle and Sandler have good chemistry between them. There are some unnecessary sub-plots that could've been deleted to make an uneven script a little bit more relevant. The ending offers some easy and clichéd solutions but manages to entertain nevertheless.
Super Reviewer
October 20, 2007
A slow-moving, unfocused look on a man torn apart by tragedy. Although Sandler gives a terrific, impressive lead performance, he's alone in this category. The film's abundance of needless characters as well as its tendency to bungle certain "should-be" powerful scenes is a huge negative here. Cheadle does what he can, but once the coincidences, cliches, and bad dialogue start springing up in more places than one, the actors can't save a movie from falling into "meh" territory.
Super Reviewer
½ January 18, 2009
Sandler does a great job showing how maddening and crippling the loss of a family could be.
Super Reviewer
½ January 5, 2009
For the first time, I have glimpsed a bit of range from Adam Sandler, the actor (vs. the always predicable Adam Sandler, the comedian). This is a very non-Sandler-ish film. Definitely a step in the right direction.
Super Reviewer
December 2, 2008
Adam Sandler portrays a man who loses his family in the September 11 attack on New York City. His immense grief is eased by his college roommate he runs into which may be the one thing that can help him recover from his loss and tremendous devastion from real horror that many need to see and feel to believe.
Adam Sandler is brilliant in this role which is so different than what you normally see him play, and Don Cheadle is brilliant as well.
Super Reviewer
½ November 7, 2008
An emotional must-see for anyone who likes dramas or Adam Sandler.

I loved the fact that we got too see Adam Sandler outside of his normal bubble. While there were still more then a few parts that I laughed out loud at only because it's natural when Sandler is involved for the most part this movie was a serious-tear jerker in which Adam Sandler done just as well here as he does in comedies.

This movie focuses on emotional loss, friendship, hardship, and survival. It's one of the best dramas I have ever seen and all the actors nail there parts, especially the two leading roles.

Negatives: Where is the ending? I like the whole stop in the middle of the movie thing and let the audience decide what happens next - to a point it's obvious, but after an emotional movie such as this some people actually like to have a conclusion on what had happend and this movie fails to deliver one. If you hate sudden endings, you'll really hate this one.

Overall: The movie is great because it's a real-time drama that thousands of families have and will always remember. I could only imagine having a family member in the towers or planes and having to watch that scene over and over agan, I imagine it did drive people insane like it did the lead character in this movie. It's a movie that has the ability to really make you think about where you are at in life, what your last words should be to loved ones each time you walk out the door, and really just look at the "big" picture even when it seems like your posing for the small.

However, we like conclusions and this one has a sudden stop that basically could of occured at nearly any point in the movie and had no different effect. I would of liked too see it go on and become more developed, cut some scenes, and add some more conclusion scenes but all in all it's a great film that anyone whose heart is not made of stone will have a hard time not falling in love with.
Super Reviewer
½ September 4, 2007
"Let in the unexpected."

A chance run-in with an old college roommate becomes the catalyst for healing in writer/director Mike Binder's tale of friendship and understanding in post-9/11 New York. When the Twin Towers went down on that fateful morning in 2001, Charlie Fineman (Adam Sandler) lost everything that he had to live for. Five years have passed since Charlie lost his family, and now the once-successful and sociable man has become a withdrawn shadow of his former self. When fate brings Charlie and his former college roommate Alan Johnson (Don Cheadle) together once again on a Manhattan street corner, Alan is shocked to see just how far his old friend has fallen. Though on the surface it would appear that Alan has it all, the pressures of his family and career have been weighing heavily on the successful dentist and loving father's shoulders as of late. At that pivotal moment when Charlie and Alan both needed a trusted friend to help them work through the seemingly insurmountable challenges they face in life, the restorative power of a rekindled friendship provides just the lifeline needed to move forward into the future with hope and optimism. Jada Pinkett Smith, Liv Tyler, Saffron Burrows, and Donald Sutherland co-star.

Sandler was amazing. He wasn't a goofball like in Billy Madison and The Waterboy. In fact, there is very little sign of those adolescent characters in this movie. He shows he is mature and plays it so well, I personally couldn't tell it was him at all. The storyline was really strong and the acting was good. Probably Sandler's most dedicated role to serious as he gets. It's his best work in my opinion. The characters are not out there, but like the same things we like and talk the same way. I felt a connection in that. Cheadle, on the other hand, was also great as Charlie's one and only true friend, Alan. With "Hotel Rwanda", "Traffic" and "Crash" in his acting slate, you can already tell that Don is a great actor.

So, if you want to see a heavy dramatic film during a cold night, see Reign Over Me.
Super Reviewer
September 22, 2008
This movie shows just how fucked life can be. This movie shows a plot that isnt fiction, it could have happened to any person in this country which is exactly one of the reasons i loved this movie.

Sandler playing one of the greatest roles i've ever seen as Charlie Fineman, a man who lost his wife and three daughters on 9/11. Present Year, he runs into his old college roomate and they rekindle there relationship as friends.

The Acting was amazing in this movie. I for one feel that Sandler deserved alot for this role. He took this movie to the next level and gave us a heart poudning drama.

This movie was just perfect and amazing. The acting was great, the plot was great, it was emotional, it had twists, the only thing it didnt have was Narrating, but thats okay because this movie was still extrodinary.
Super Reviewer
½ July 26, 2008
I really liked this movie a lot. Adam Sandler was awesome and had me crying like a baby for the third time. There was a particularly jarring scene in a courtroom and I couldn't figure out why his lawyer wasn't objecting to the stunt that the prosecution was pulling.
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