Film: Reign Over Me

Let In the Unexpected

One of Adam Sandler's rare forays into a serious drama. Reign Over Me is a 2007 melodrama about two old friends who fell out of touch and are re-united in post-9/11 New York City.

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

This film provides examples of:

  • Berserk Button: For most of the film, the idea of people forcing him to see a shrink sets Charlie into a rage.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Alan's receptionist, Melanie.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Charlie is like this for most of the film.
  • Jerkass: Charlie's in-law's lawyer. The presiding judge even orders him at one point to "shut up." Granted, this was in the privacy of judge's chambers.
  • Pac Man Fever: Averted. Charlie can be seen playing Shadow of the Colossus and he plays it convincingly, and if you watch carefully, he's defeating the colossi in order.
    • Adam Sandler said in an interview that they didn't want the video game to just be a throw away bit of characterization, and actually picked this specific game to symbolically represent Charlie overcoming his grief.
  • Real Song Theme Tune: The film is named after the song "Love Reign O'Er Me" by The Who, one of the songs Charlie listens to shut out the world. A cover by Pearl Jam plays over the credits.
  • Suicide by Cop: Attempted.
  • Used To Be More Social: Charlie before the attacks.
  • What The Hell Lawyer: The judge has this reaction to the in-laws' lawyer in his chambers after witnessing him place a picture of Charlie's dead family on the table in front of him during his "Love, Reign O'er Me" freak-out.