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Reign Over Me (2007)

R | | Drama | 23 March 2007 (USA)
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A man who lost his family in the September 11 attack on New York City runs into his old college roommate. Rekindling the friendship is the one thing that appears able to help the man recover from his grief.

Director:

Mike Binder

Writer:

Mike Binder
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4,457 ( 965)
3 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Adam Sandler ... Charlie Fineman
Don Cheadle ... Alan Johnson
Jada Pinkett Smith ... Janeane Johnson
Liv Tyler ... Angela Oakhurst
Saffron Burrows ... Donna Remar
Donald Sutherland ... Judge Raines
Robert Klein ... Jonathan Timpleman
Melinda Dillon ... Ginger Timpleman
Mike Binder ... Bryan Sugarman
Jonathan Banks ... Stelter
Rae Allen ... Adell Modell
Paula Newsome ... Melanie
John de Lancie ... Nigel Pennington
Paul Butler Paul Butler ... George Johnson
Camille LaChe Smith Camille LaChe Smith ... Cherie Johnson (as Camille LaChe-Smith)
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Storyline

Alan Johnson has everything he needs to get through life: a good job, a beautiful and loving wife, and their wonderful children. Yet he feels isolated because he finds having a hard-working job and managing a family too much to handle and has no one to talk to about it. Charlie Fineman, on the other hand, doesn't have a job or a family. He used to have both until a terrible loss, and the grief caused him to quit his job and isolate himself from everyone around him. As it turns out, Alan and Charlie were roommates in college, and a chance encounter one night rekindles the friendship they shared. But when Charlie's problems become too much to deal with, Alan is determined to help Charlie come out of his emotional abyss. Written by neojeff2199

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Live every day like it's the best day of your life. See more »

Genres:

Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language and some sexual references | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

23 March 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Empty City See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$7,460,690, 25 March 2007

Gross USA:

$19,661,987

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$22,222,308
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

SDDS | Dolby Digital | DTS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The title is inspired by Pete Townshend's song "Love Reign O'er Me" from The Who's 1973 album "Quadrophenia", which was also the inspiration for the scooter in this film. The song appears twice on the film's soundtrack, the second time during the end credits. See more »

Goofs

When Charlie is in his first apartment playing the video game and the shot is from where the video screen is, the receiver/amplifier has no cables or wires running to or from it; yet when he's in the second apartment, all the RCA cables and other cables are plugged into it and it is clearly hooked up to work. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Melanie: New patient?
New Dental Patient: Yes, I was referred by my lawyer about veneers.
[big grin]
Melanie: You're a new patient, that's all I need to know. Fill this out so we know who to contact in case we loose you in the chair.
New Dental Patient: [speechless]
Melanie: That was a joke, sweetie, I was being funny.
[abruptly slides the window closed]
See more »

Alternate Versions

A scene removed from the UK version of the film is the montage of scenes with Angela Oakhurst (Liv Tyler) consoling Charlie Fineman (Adam Sandler) with the original version of 'Love, Reign o'er me' playing in the background. See more »


Soundtracks

The Birds of St. Marks
Written and Performed by Jackson Browne
Courtesy of Inside Recordings
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Can we get Chinese now?…Reign Over Me
24 March 2007 | by jaredmobarakSee all my reviews

Love hurts. That, I think, is the main message Mike Binder's newest film Reign Over Me brings across. Whether that love has caused your relationship to become stagnant, or has brought anger from the one you love cheating for years, or has broken your heart to the point of being unable to open yourself up to the world, love hurts. The great thing about this film, however, is not in its portrayal of these lost souls trying to let their past heartbreaks go, but in the eventual restart of new bonds for the future. No one in this drama is perfect; they are all at some degree trapped emotionally in relationships that they can't free themselves from alone. There is some heavy subject material here and I credit Binder for never making the story turn into a political diatribe, but instead infusing the serious moments with some real nice comedic bits allowing the tale to stay character-based and small in scale compared to the epic event that looms overhead. What could have become a trite vehicle for opinions on how 9-11 effected us all, ends up being a story about two men and a connection they share that is the only thing which can save their lives from a life of depression and regret.

This is a new career performance for Adam Sandler. I like to think that my favorite director Paul Thomas Anderson was the first to see the childish, pent-up anger in his stupid comedies as something to use dramatically. The juvenility of a character like Billy Madison allows for laughs and potty humor, but also can be used to show a repressed man, shy and shutout to the world around him—a man with no confidence that needs an event of compassion to break him from his shell. Anderson let Sandler do just that in his masterpiece Punch-Drunk Love and Mike Binder has taken it one step further. Sandler plays former dentist Charlie Fineman whose wife and three kids were killed in one of the planes that took down the World Trade Center on 9-11. That one moment crushed any life that he had and as a result, he became reclusive and started to believe he couldn't remember anything that happened before that day. He really delivers a moving portrait of a man trying to keep up the charade in his head while those around him, those that love him, try and open him up to the reality of what happened and what the future holds. Always on edge and ready to snap at any moment when something is mentioned to spark the memory of his perished family, he goes through life with his iPod and headphones, shutting out everything so as not to be tempted remember.

Reign Over Me is not about Charlie Fineman though, it is about dentist and family man Alan Johnson. A man that has trapped himself into a marriage and dental practice that both have stagnated into monotony, Johnson needs as much help in his life as his old college roommate Charlie does. Played perfectly by the always brilliant Don Cheadle, Johnson has lost his backbone to try and change his life. He has no friends and when he sees Charlie, by chance, one day, his life evolves into something he hasn't felt in 15 years. He revels in the chance to go out with an old friend no matter how much he has changed from the death of his family. Cheadle's character wants to revert back to the college days of hanging out and Sandler's doesn't mind because all that was before he met his wife. The two men get what they want and allow themselves to grow close despite the years of solitude that used to rule their lives. Once they begin opening up though, it is inevitable that the subject of the tragedy will creep up and test the façade they have created for themselves.

The supporting cast does an amazing job helping keep up appearances for the two leads. Jada Pinkett Smith has never been an actress that impressed me and throughout the film played the tough as nails wife nicely, but it is her final scene on the phone with Cheadle that really showed me something different and true. Liv Tyler is a bit out of her element as a psychiatrist, but the movie calls her on this fact and makes the miscasting, perfect casting. The many small cameos are also effective, even writer/director Mike Binder's role as Sandler's old best friend and accountant, (my only gripe here is why he feels the need to put his name in the opening credits as an actor when it is everywhere, considering it is his film). Last but not least is the beautiful Saffron Burrows. She is a great actress and plays the love- crushed divorcée trying to put her life back together wonderfully. A role that seems comic relief at first, but ends up being an integral aspect for what is to come.

Binder has crafted one of the best dramatic character studies I have seen in a long time. The direction is almost flawless, (the blurring between cuts and characters in the fore/ background really annoyed me in the beginning), the acting superb, and the story true to itself, never taking the easy way out or wrapping itself up with a neatly tied bow at the conclusion. Even the music was fantastic and used to enhance, not to lead us emotionally, (why after two great uses of the titular song by The Who did Binder feel the need to use the inferior Eddie Veddar remake for the end, I don't know, but it did unfortunately stick out for me). Reign Over Me is a film about love and how although it can cause the worst pain imaginable, it can also save us from regret and allow us to once again see the world as a place of beauty and hope.


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