Serious Sandler film brings in mixed reviews
March 23, 2007
We’ve all wondered what it would have been like to be on a plane that crashed into the towers on Sept. 11, 2001. We wondered what it would have been like to be in the buildings during the fall of the World Trade Center. Movies that came out in the past year were expected to be made and have cured such wonders. However, did anyone wonder what it would be like to be the widowed griever? “Reign Over Me” is not about 9/11, but about a man whose grief took over his life.
Adam Sandler is Charlie Fineman, a lonely man whose family perished on an airplane on Sept. 11. Charlie’s grief caused him to isolate himself from other humans until Alan Johnson (Don Cheadle) finds him. Alan, as it turns out, is Charlie’s old college roommate and soon they find that a friendship they once had has the ability to resurrect. It is good timing too, because humble Alan has become suffocated by his family and job—significant things that Charlie has neither of. Together they are able to forget that they are unhappy with their lives and get lost in a world no one else can touch.
On first impression, this movie looks to be another dramatic film about a friendship with one potentially mentally ill man and another man of unhappy success. There are slight inferences that lead me to believe there was a lot more to the story than a weird guy. For instance, the audience is able to see the grieving still happening and the different way it affects Charlie when he passes by a television with the word ‘terrorist’ on it.
After “Punch-Drunk Love,” Sandler proved that he’ll shine beyond the slapstick he’s best known for.
Cheadle, already a notorious grade-A actor for such films as “Crash” and “Hotel Rwanda,” also carried this film with his acting. In fact, the acting is what made this movie so enjoyable. The story seemed to drag out too long in areas that needed more uplifting scenes to retain an audience from dying of the melodramatic scenes.
The writer and director, Mike Binder, brings this piece out as a healing one. Post-traumatic stress disorder is shown in a deep, heartfelt story that will make one want to squeeze Charlie hard enough that your own love will pass through him and he will once again have the ability to feel.
The soundtrack also helped carry the mellow tone of the film with a main theme song inspired by the title of the film, “Love Reign O’er Me” by The Who. Hearing the song puts the title into context appropriately. Beyond the exceptional actors, the style was what pinned me to the thumbs-up side. With Sandler’s appearance resembling that of a poetic Bob Dylan, it was hard not to fall for such a brooding, saddened man.
Though there were several comical instances in the film, it did not overpower the dark theme, but rather added realism to the story. Life is sad, but kind of silly, really.
Teresa Aviles is a student at UW-River Falls.