Reign Over Me
By Dawn Januszkewicz
Mike Binder has crafted the story of two middle-aged men struggling in the aftermath of life spun out of control. Both men face different issues and degrees of severity, however, they respond to their challenges with the same approach of denial and commit to routine without an emotional reprieve.
Alan Johnson, played by Don Cheadle, is a successful dentist and family man, struggling with the boredom and lack of control in his life. He reconnects with his old college roommate, Charlie Fineman, played by Adam Sandler, who conversely has lost his family in 9/11 and ended his practice of dentistry to recreate himself as a scruffy, struggling musician.
In this post 9/11 portrayal, we focus on the crises of two identities, those affected by the event and those spared. The connection between these two characters demonstrates a youthful male camaraderie, exploring escapism and its consequences.
Johnson helps Fineman turn a corner when he sets up an appointment with Angela Oakhurst, played by Liv Taylor, with whom Johnson has distantly been trying to connect with. She helps Fineman face the past. However, he was unable to handle those memories and his release actually led to his self destruction. The last twist did deliver an ending with an upturn, yet prior to that final twist, every member of the audience was left sniffling. Sandler delivered a wonderful performance in what was no doubt his most challenging role yet.
Reign Over Me is a touching story with several pivotal twists and turns. The casting was excellent and not one performance left one to desire. Anyone who has experienced a loss or even malaises will take something profound away from this film.
Published July 1, 2007
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