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


Reign Over Me is about two old friends who fell out of touch and are re-united in post-9/11 New York Citymarker.

Alan Johnson (Cheadle), a dentist, is on his way home from work when he spots his old college roommate, Charlie Fineman (Sandler), leaving a hardware store. Several days later, Johnson runs into Charlie again, and this time insists on catching up over a cup of coffee. The two eventually become friends, but Charlie aggressively distances himself from Johnson anytime the issue of Charlie's family comes up. It is revealed that Charlie lost his wife and daughters in the September 11 incident, and that he has been having great difficulty coping with the loss.

Throughout the movie, Charlie angrily assaults Johnson several times, the last of which occurs in the waiting room of Johnson's practice. Realizing Charlie needs more help than he can offer, Johnson manages to convince Charlie to see a therapist. Johnson convinces his friend to see an acquaintance, Dr. Oakhurst (Liv Tyler). After several sessions, Charlie finally begins to speak about his loss, but the experience leaves him severely jarred and shaken. Later that night, he attempts to commit suicide by cop, but is arrested and commited to the psychiatric ward of a state hospital.

The movie climaxes in a stirring court battle, where Charlie goes berserk one last time, as his father-in-law gives testimony about Doreen, Charlie's late wife. Moving out of his old apartment, and leaving no forwarding address, Charlie begins piecing together his life again. Johnson, at the same time, starts mending his broken marriage.



Music is an important component of this film, which uses two songs from Bruce Springsteen's The River - "Out In The Street" and "Drive All Night" - and the music of The Who as Charlie uses his iPod and headphones to selectively filter out the world. The title of the film comes from the song "Love, Reign o'er Me" by The Who. The song appears on the film's soundtrack along with a cover version recorded specifically for the film by Pearl Jam.The song "The Birds Of St. Marks" by Jackson Browne was also used while Charlie drives his vehicle across the streets.The televised trailer features the song "Ashes" by UK band Embrace. The film opens with Graham Nash's "Simple Man."


Reviews for the film were mixed. 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."

Reign Over Me currently holds a 63 percent "Fresh" rating at Rotten Tomatoes. General praise has been awarded to the performances of Sandler and Cheadle, with many reviews praising Binder's direction and screenplay. 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.

See also


  1. Reign Over Me | Movie Review | Entertainment Weekly
  2. Reign Over Me - Movie - Review - New York Times
  3. Reign Over Me - Movie Reviews, Trailers, Pictures - Rotten Tomatoes
  4. Reign Over Me (2007)

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