Reign Over Me is a surprisingly affecting film with Adam Sandler as the lead role. Sandler plays Charlie Fineman, a New Yorker who is suffering from a sort of post traumatic stress after losing his family in the 9/11 disaster. It is up to his long lost college room mate Alan Johnson (Don Cheadle) and his family to try and steer him back on track.

My initial preconceptions of this film were that it would become another cheesey Sandler film that would follow the same predicatable storyline. I couldn’t be more wrong. Sandler has a tendancy to play some characters who can run a little off the rails, which definitely comes in handy in Reign Over Me, but this is definitely not a comedy.

Sandler’s character, Charline Fineman, has locked himself away in his family’s apartment – continuously decorating the kitchen as if stuck in a loop of the same horrific day when he lost his family. It takes a while for Fineman to open up, and a lot of hard work from his old room mate Alan Johnson, who himself has some issues going on.
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Alan Johnson is portrayed as being quite laid back, and gets walked all over by his wife, and colleagues. After meeting Fineman Johnson seems to take it upon himself to grow a backbone and get his life in order.

There are some side stories that run in parrallel, that in my opinion the film could have done without. The story follows a nuissance patient of Johnson’s (he runs a dental practice), who is constantly seeking sexual gratification from him after a messy divorce from her ex-husband. This whole story seems to bear no relation to the rest of the story.

Reign Over Me is a mixture of a feel good movie, showing the importance of sharing pain and loss with friends, with a lot of sadness and reflection on Fineman’s life that once was.

Sandler and Cheadle definitely hit it off and work well together. Even if you don’t like this sort of storyline, Reign Over Me is worth a watch even for Sandler’s total change of character, showing how versatile he can be, his slowness and lack of eloquence seem to emerge from a place of darkness rather than mere idiocy.

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