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Reign Over Me
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Reviewed on 2007-03-23
Received[3]  out of 4 stars
Reign Over Me is a touching and riveting story of the present lives of two men who went their separate ways after the celebrated college years of past. Alan Johnson (Don Cheadle) has everything in life that a man could want: he is financially secure with a partnership in a successful cosmetic dental practice, and he loves his wife Janeane (Jada Pinkett Smith) and two daughters. Yet something is missing from the brilliance that surrounds him. He is a captive of isolation and emotional deprivation and when Johnson runs into Charlie Fineman (Adam Sandler), an old college roommate, he catches a glimmer of hope for a life that has passed him by. The only setback is that Fineman seems to have forgotten all about their past friendship. Fineman had lost everything that Johnson seemed to be taking for granted after his entire family died in the 9/11 plane crash. Both men carry their own anguish and through the rekindled friendship begin to heal some of the wounds.

Reign Over Me is a good “friend flick”. It caresses the emotional connection that bonds souls and creates lasting memories. It touches on the subject of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which ultimately makes or breaks the social connections of most people and tests the true meaning of the word friend. Stories stemming from 9/11 are still very tender for many Americans but I found that this example of the denial in dealing with the aftermath contained insightfulness and wisdom that kept me intrigued by Charlie’s life after the loss. The storyline was rich with content but fell seemingly short on delivery. I would have expected the plot to have a touch more substance. It felt as though I was watching the same scenes multiple times in different settings. Although, it did feel somewhat necessary for character development and therefore it did not prevent me from enjoying the movie.

Charlie Fineman was a role that is not typical for Adam Sandler fans but he portrayed the distraught man with brilliance. He glides through the emotional turmoil with magnificent forcefulness going from sweet to sulky to mournful without any awkwardness. I am a fan of the Sandler classics and always look for that quirkiness in the movies he is in but this was definitely different. I have to say I am now a fan of the emotionally charged and dramatic version of Sandler as well. Don Cheadle also gives a characteristically demanding performance. He brings his typical intelligence and distinction to what might have been an uninspiring role. Their connection is inevitable as they share an unforgettable chemistry in this blissful heartrending film.

Review By: Maleah Moran

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