Reign Over Me

Reign Over Me Information

Reign Over Me is a 2007 American drama film written and directed by Mike Binder, and produced by Jack Binder. The film stars Adam Sandler, Don Cheadle, Jada Pinkett Smith, Liv Tyler, Donald Sutherland, Saffron Burrows and Mike Binder himself.

Distributed by Columbia Pictures, the film was released on March 23, 2007. The film was released to DVD, and Blu-ray on October 9, 2007.


Two old friends who fell out of touch are reunited by a chance meeting in post-9/11 New York City.

When the Twin Towers went down on that fateful morning in 2001, Charlie Fineman (Sandler) lost everything important in his life. Five years have passed since Charlie's wife and daughters died, and now the once-successful and sociable man has become a withdrawn shadow of his former self.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 (Cheadle) together once again on a Manhattan street corner, Alan is shocked to see just how far his old friend has fallen. Charlie's hair is long and he wears headphones constantly to let music drown out the horrifying memories and images in his mind.

Though on the surface it would appear that Alan, a successful dentist, has it all, the pressures of a family and career have been weighing heavily on him. At a pivotal moment when Charlie and Alan both need a trusted friend, the restorative power of a rekindled friendship provides a lifeline needed to move forward.

Alan endeavors to bring Charlie out of his shell by convincing him to see a therapist (Liv Tyler). Charlie is barely communicative, however, ending their sessions after only a couple of minutes. His therapist says he needs to tell the story about his family to someone eventually. Charlie soon tells Alan his tragic story, but afterwards tries to commit suicide by cop and ends up in a sanitarium.

Legal proceedings commence, where a judge (Sutherland) must determine whether to commit Charlie to psychiatric care against his will. The judge leaves the decision to Charlie's in-laws, asking them to think of what their daughter would want for Charlie. They decide that he should not be committed; instead, Charlie moves to a new apartment, leaving behind the painful memories associated with his former home. At the end of the film, Alan visits Charlie for the day and his wife calls and tells him "I love you and just want you to come home."


Tom Cruise and Javier Bardem were initially signed on to play Adam Sandler's role and Don Cheadle's role, respectively. Jennifer Garner was initially signed on to play Liv Tyler's role. When Cruise dropped out, Bardem suggested Sandler after seeing him in Punch-Drunk Love. Although Sandler was initially hesitant about the project, he signed on after reading the script for a second time. Bardem later dropped from the project, so Cheadle was given the role.


As music was an important component to the plot, various songs were used during different parts of the film, such as Bruce Springsteen's "Out In The Street" and "Drive All Night", and a few songs by The Who, including the titular "Love, Reign o'er Me". The latter song appears on the film's soundtrack along with a cover version recorded specifically for the film by Pearl Jam. Televised trailers features the songs "Ashes" by UK band Embrace, "All These Things That I've Done" by The Killers, and "In This Life" by Chantal Kreviazuk. The score was written by Rolfe Kent, and orchestrated by Tony Blondal.

Release and reception

Reign Over Me currently holds a 63% "Fresh" rating at Rotten Tomatoes. General praise has been awarded to the performances of Sandler and Cheadle, with many reviews also praising Binder's direction and screenplay, but the film was not nominated for any major awards. The film opened in 1,671 theaters with a $4,465 per theater average, giving it a total gross of $7.5 million for the weekend. It ended its theatrical run with a domestic total of $19.7 million and an international total of $1.2 million, making a total gross of $20.9 million.

Reviews for the film were mixed to positive. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream critics, the film received an average score of 61, based on 33 reviews, which indicates "Generally favorable" reviews. Entertainment Weekly gives Reign Over Me a B− rating, calling the film "a strange, black-and-blue therapeutic drama equally mottled with likable good intentions and agitating clumsiness." Reviewer Lisa Schwarzbaum shares her own discomfort with seeing the September 11 attacks casually included as a plot device in a fictional drama, while praising the film's performance and story.

The New York Times found the film "maddeningly uneven", adding, "It's rare to see so many moments of grace followed by so many stumbles and fumbles, or to see intelligence and discretion undone so thoroughly by glibness and grossness. And it is puzzling, and ultimately draining, to see a film that waves the flag of honesty"?Face your demons! Speak from your heart! Open up!"?turn out to be so phony."

The video gaming blog Kotaku praised Reign Over Me's inclusion of the video game Shadow of the Colossus, stating that it "must be one of the first Hollywood films, if not the first, to deal with games thematically and intelligently."

See also

  • List of cultural references to the September 11 attacks

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