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Reign Over Me (Full Screen) (2007)

A movie directed by Mike Binder

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  • Oct 12, 2007
While dramas reenacting the devastation of 911 abound, only a few select films appear to be dealing with the personal, long-term effects of that day of doom. REIGN OVER ME, with a brilliant script by Mike Bender (who also directs and acts in the film), reaches into the arena of emotional states that continue to filter through the detritus of that event, states that have altered many minds permanently and states that have provided pathways for growing into a more profound appreciation for life and the privilege of living.

Successful dentist Alan Johnson (Don Cheadle) and his beautiful wife Janeane (Jada Pinkett Smith) live luxuriously well from the income Alan makes tending to the vanity of the wealthy New Yorkers: their lives seem perfect but there is a static vibration that pleads for change. Alan happens to see his old college and dental school roommate Charlie Fineman (Adam Sandler), disheveled and skirting around the streets on a motorized scooter. Charlie doesn't recognize Alan: Charlie doesn't recognize anything or anyone from his past as his mind has been jumbled by the unrepaired grief over the loss of his wife and three daughters in one of the airplanes that crashed in 911 disaster. The rigid but needy Alan succeeds in making contact with Charlie, offering solace and help and companionship to his old friend, and through a series of incidents (some hilarious, others tragic) the two men find a common Gilead - Charlie faces his loss and begins to cope and Alan is set free from his self inflicted cage in which he lives.

Binder writes well and introduces enough interesting sidebar characters through the course of the film to make the statement about change and healing credible. The fine cast includes Liv Tyler as a psychiatrist, Saffron Burrows as a stalking patient whose recovery from a divorce plays significantly in the interaction between Alan and Charlie, Robert Klein and Melinda Dillon play the parents of Charlie's deceased wife, Mike Binder is Charlie's accountant, and Donald Sutherland offers a brief but sophisticated cameo as a judge. The quality of acting is first rate and even Adam Sandler manages to overcome his own well-worn bag of schlocky tricks to bring the sad Charlie to life. Food for thought, here, and worth watching, if only to see how personal 911 is to be remembered. Grady Harp, October 07

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More Reign Over Me reviews
review by . March 24, 2011
Pros: Sandler & Cheadle, good script     Cons: none for me     The Bottom Line:   "On the dry and dusty road,  The nights we spend apart alone.    I can't sleep and I lay and I think,  The night is hot and black as ink."  ~The Who     Death does not come with a scorecard.  There is no book or checklist where you can tick things off, then move on to the next item.  …
review by . April 02, 2009
The other night, I got hooked into the movie "Reign Over Me" starring Don Cheadle and Adam Sandler.  When it first came out, I was very interested in seeing it, but then it was gone from the theaters before I had the chance.    The movie was worth the wait, but I wish I'd seen it sooner.    Basically Adam Sandler plays a character who was the college roommate for 2 years of Don Cheadle's character.  Sandler's character pretty much experienced …
About the reviewer
Grady Harp ()
Ranked #97
Grady Harp is a champion of Representational Art in the roles of curator, lecturer, panelist, writer of art essays, poetry, critical reviews of literature, art and music, and as a gallerist. He has presented … more
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One of the first films to examine the aftermath of post- 9/11 New York City,Reign Over Meshows how much even indirect contact with those who lost loved ones in the tragedy can greatly affect. Like rings of debris spiraling out from an explosion, Charlie Fineman's (Adam Sandler) loss also devastates his in-laws, who he refuses to speak to, and ex-college roommate, Alan Johnson.Reign Over Mestars Johnson, a successful dentist with a gorgeous wife, Janeane (Jada Pinkett Smith) and two kids, who finds Charlie reverted back into a teenage wasteland, unable to face his unbearable sadness. Sandler as Charlie looks like Bob Dylan and acts like Dustin Hoffman in his great dramatic performance. Listening to The Who and The Boss through headphones, playing video games, and continually remodeling his kitchen, Fineman's escapism disturbs Johnson, who, in turn, feels squelched by his stiflingly normal lifestyle. As the two reacquaint, Johnson is the only person who can help save Fineman from self-obliteration. The story analyzes Post Traumatic Stress with some accuracy, though excess sentimentality undermines emotional scenes. Survivor's guilt, assessing mental illness, and absolute incapacitation due to grief are all topics covered within the bounds of the enduring friendship forged between these two men. Ultimately,Reign Over Me'smessage is one of compassion, as a reminder to treat victims of loss with patience and care. But interestingly, it also pays heed to smaller ...
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Director: Mike Binder
DVD Release Date: October 9, 2007
Runtime: 124 minutes
Studio: Sony Pictures
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