Reign Over Me (15)

Film image
Mike Binder

The ViewLondon Review

StarStarStarStarNo Star
Review byMatthew Turner18/04/2007

Four out of Five stars
Running time: 124 mins

Emotionally engaging, superbly acted drama with a terrific script and impressive direction from writer-director Mike Binder.

What's it all about?
Written and directed by Mike Binder, Reign Over Me stars Don Cheadle as Manhattan dentist Alan Johnson, who spots his college roommate Charlie Fineman (Adam Sandler) on a street corner and discovers that he is still a stammering, emotional wreck, five years after losing his wife and children on September 11th. Charlie has become a recluse, both mentally and physically, and Alan finds the changes in his friend hard to deal with as he tries to rekindle their friendship.

However, Alan also has problems of his own. A beautiful but bonkers patient (Saffron Burrows) is threatening to sue him for sexual harassment and his wife (Jada Pinkett Smith) is pressuring him to spend more time with her and the children. An added layer of complication develops when Alan's psychiatrist friend (Liv Tyler) tries to help Charlie overcome the loss of his family.

The Good
The Bob Dylan hairdo and Rain Man-esque mannerisms may not do him any favours, but this is still Sandler's best performance since Punch Drunk Love and the scenes where you catch a glimpse of the unimaginable pain he's carrying around are extremely moving. Cheadle is equally good, portraying a likeable character whose believable flaws make him all too easy for us to identify with.

As with his upcoming drama, The Upside of Anger (excellent, despite its delayed release), Binder writes terrific dialogue that's suffused with natural humour. The film is frequently laugh-out-loud funny and also manages to steer clear of the usual syrupy sentimentality, despite the film's powerfully emotional subject matter.

The Great
Worthy of particular mention on its own, the film has a terrific soundtrack (the title comes from a Who song) and some important observations about both grief and friendship.

Worth seeing?
Reign Over Me is a superbly written, thoughtful and ultimately moving drama that confirms Binder as a talent to watch. Highly recommended.

Film Trailer

Reign Over Me (15)
Be the first to review Reign Over Me...
01 The Hobbit: The Battle of Five Armies (tbc)

Lee Pace, Benedict Cumberbatch, Evangeline Lilly, ...

02 The Theory of Everything (tbc)

Felicity Jones, Eddie Redmayne, Emily Watson

03 Pride (15)

Bill Nighy, Andrew Scott, Dominic West, Imelda Sta...

04 What We Did on Our Holidays (12A)

David Tennant, Billy Connolly, Rosamund Pike, Anne...

05 The Guest (15)

Dan Stevens, Maika Monroe, Ethan Embry

Content updated: 23/08/2014 20:48

Latest Film Reviews

Film of the Week

Lucy (15)

Scarlet Johannson stars as a woman whose brain power is exponentially increased after she ingests a powerful new drug.

UK Box Office Top 5 Films

Hot Tickets

Film 4 Summer ScreenFilm 4 Summer Screen

Taking over the big screen at Somerset House again for August 2014, the Film 4 Summer Screen series brings a variety of classics and brand new films to audiences in the capital.