Reign Over Me
|Reign Over Me|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Mike Binder|
|Produced by||Jack Binder
|Written by||Mike Binder|
|Music by||Rolfe Kent|
|Edited by||Steve Edwards
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Box office||$22.2 million|
Reign Over Me is a 2007 American drama film written and directed by Mike Binder, and produced by his brother Jack Binder. The film stars Adam Sandler, Don Cheadle, Jada Pinkett Smith, Liv Tyler, Donald Sutherland, Saffron Burrows and Mike Binder himself.
When the Twin Towers went down 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years have passed since Charlie's wife and daughters died, and now the once-successful and sociable man has become a withdrawn shadow of his former self. He does not discuss his loss, causing his in-laws to worry for his sanity, believing that he has struck the tragedy from his mind.
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 a headset constantly to let music drown out the upsetting memories of his wife and children.
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 every session 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, Judge David Raines (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. He approaches his in-laws in the lobby of the courthouse, stating that he doesn't carry pictures nor discuss his family because he sees them every day, in the faces of people walking down the street. 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."
- Adam Sandler as Dr. Charlie Fineman
- Don Cheadle as Dr. Alan Johnson
- Jada Pinkett Smith as Janeane Johnson
- Liv Tyler as Dr. Angela Oakhurst, Charlie's therapist
- Saffron Burrows as Donna Remar, Alan's "stalker" patient, catches Charlie's eye
- Donald Sutherland as committal hearing Judge David Raines
- Robert Klein as Jonathan Timpleman, Charlie's father in-law
- Melinda Dillon as Ginger Timpleman, Charlie's mother in-law
- Mike Binder (film's director) as Bryan Sugarman, Charlie's protective pre-tragedy best friend
- Jonathan Banks as Stelter, Alan's abrasive dental practice partner
- John de Lancie as Nigel Pennington, a "covert" therapist Alan arranges
- Rae Allen as Adell Modell, Charlie's protective landlady
- Paula Newsome as Melanie, Alan's protective dental practice receptionist
- Ted Raimi as Peter Saravino, Charlie's committal hearing lawyer
- B. J. Novak as Fallon, the DA's committal hearing lawyer
In momentary footage of the dead wife and daughters, Joey King appears as one of the daughters. 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", "Simple Man" by Graham Nash, 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 English 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.
The film opened at #8 with a gross of $7,460,690 from 1,671 theaters, for an average of $4,465 per venue. The film closed on April 29, 2007, with a final domestic gross of $19,661,987. It made another $2,560,321 internationally for a total worldwide gross of $22,222,308, against its $20 million budget.
The film received mixed reviews from critics. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a "Fresh" rating of 64% based on 151 reviews. 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 site's consensus states "Reign Over Me is a charming, affecting tale of friendship and loss, with solid performances from Adam Sandler as a broken, grief-stricken man and Don Cheadle as his old friend and savior." while 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, indicating "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 dramedy, 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."
- "Reign Over Me (2007)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 7 July 2012.
- "Reign Over Me". Rotten Tomatoes.
- "Reign Over Me Movie Reviews, Pictures". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved July 29, 2011.
- "Movie Review: Reign Over Me". Entertainment Weekly.
- Scott, A. O. (March 23, 2007). "Who Else but an Old Buddy Can Tell How Lost You Are?". The New York Times.
- Ashcraft, Brian. "Feature: The Colossus and the Comedian". Kotaku.