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I just got back from a screening a couple of hours ago, and I was very
happy with the movie when I left it. It's very intense, and the closest
I've come to crying in a movie in quite some time. That is a credit to
Adam Sandler, who delivers a magnificent performance on many levels,
and who probably deserves an Oscar nom for it, were it not coming out
so early in the year. Don Cheadle gives his usual superb performance
playing the straight man to Adam's disturbed.
There is some humor, but most of it is really only funny in comparison to the tearjerking moments, as Adam deals with his loss and Don struggles to help him. Adam plays two levels very well... when he is mentally stable he is funny and likable, but when he is, well, less stable he's powerful and dark.
I recommend it for anyone who likes intense mental dramas about difficult friendship and loss.
It's not very often a movie can literally make the entire audience
laugh, and five minutes later fill their eyes with tears. Many movies
try to do this, but few can deliver the emotional impact that this film
did. Adam Sandler practically drags you in with his heated and often
violent outbursts, but also makes you laugh when the shadow of his past
isn't pulling him down. I'm not going to ruin anything, but there is
one scene in particular that should have your eyes watering and lip
quivering. Even the most macho of men would have to be heartless
bastards to not feel something while watching this movie. Don Cheadle
gives another great performance, but is out-shined by Sandler. Liv
Tyler and Jada Pinkett Smith give solid performances, but nothing in
the line of the two leading roles. Sandler's humor is still present,
which actually saved this film from being border-line depressing. There
are several laughs to be had, but don't think you will stay there long,
because it gets serious again without much warning.
I could go on and on about how well this movie hit on just about every emotion the human body contains, but I will cut this one short. I feel there is no need to tell you anything more. Do yourself a favor and take the time to see this movie. Even if you have to wait until it comes out on DVD, it's 100% worth the time. A deeply moving film sure to put tears in your eyes and a smile on your face...unless of course...you are a heartless soul.
This film screened last night at Austin's Paramount theater as part of
the SXSW Film Festival. We were graced with the presence of director
Mike Binder and stars Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle who took audience
questions after the film. It is a remarkable and powerful film about
what it is like to lose yourself and begin to find your way back. The
performances are phenomenal and the story manages to be both tragic and
funny in a way that is all too rare. (The trailer for the film tries a
little too hard to emphasize the comedic aspects.)
This is a breakout role for Adam Sandler. While he has begun to transition to more dramatic roles with Punch-Drunk Love and Spanglish, this role is a significant step forward for him as a dramatic actor. He deserves an Oscar nomination as he continues down to transition to more dramatic roles as Tom Hanks did and Jim Carrey is also doing. In this role, he seemed to be trying to channel Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man. Although playing an autistic man is certainly very different than Sandler's traumatized character, both characters for different reasons are trapped in their own worlds of child-like isolation and confusion.
Don Cheadle's performance is less surprising, but just as good. After Hotel Rwanda and Crash, we've come to expect remarkable nuanced performances from Cheadle. He has the qualities of sincerity and honesty that comes through in this role. But he, too, is also broken and struggling if not in the such profound ways as Sandler's character. Cheadle is struggling with difficulties in both his marriage and in his professional life as a dentist. Together the characters played by Cheadle and Sandler struggle to heal each other in the way that true friends often do (in a way that reminds me of Matt Damon and Robin Williams in Good Will Hunting). They are both searching for that part of the themselves that they have lost and trying to find again.
Reign over Me is one of the best major studio films to be released this year. The soundtrack, which is almost another character in the plot is wonderful. The filming in the streets of New York - a city that suffered a great tragedy and has also had to heal itself - is also quite beautiful. The supporting roles by Jada Pinkett Smith, Liv Tyler, Saffron Burrows (in a very odd role), Donald Sutherland, and Mike Binder himself are all quite good.
Writer/Director Mike Binder has really delivered a story that so many will be able to connect with on numerous levels. This is a story about grief, family, healing, male friendship, mental health, and the meaning of love. Reign over Me does not disappoint. The film is almost hypnotic as it draws you into the lives of its characters. Hollywood would have a much better reputation if it made more character-driven charming films like Reign over Me.
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
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 hima 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.
I saw this at a screening last night too. I was totally blown away at
how much better this movie was than what I expected. Not many movies
can combine dark comedy and current event drama and not have it fall
apart in the conclusion.
I won't bother rehashing the plot too much because I think the less you know about this movie going into it makes it that much better. But I will say that Adam Sandler's performance was really refreshing and real. He was funny, and much funnier than most of his most recent comedies. Don Cheadle was believable as always.
This movie isn't funny like Borat or Billy Madison but it has a good pace about it. I'd say 90% of the audience laughed for most of the film. Midway through the movie slows down to address the drama end of things and does a really nice job of tying it all together.
I also thought it was really cool how instead of playing up the whole black friend/white friend thing they chose to just ignore it and focus on the relationships themselves.
Greetings again from the darkness. How rare it is for a film to examine
the lost soul of men in pain. Adam Sandler stars as Charlie, a man who
lost his family in the 9/11 tragedy, and has since lost his career, his
reason to live and arguably, his sanity. Don Cheadle co-stars as
Sandler's former Dental School roommate who appears to have the perfect
life (that Sandler apparently had prior to 9/11).
Of course the parallels in these men's lives are obvious, but it is actually refreshing to see men's feelings on display in a movie ... feelings other than lust and revenge, that is. Watching how they actually help each other by just being there is painful and heartfelt. Writer/Director Mike Binder ("The Upside of Anger", and Sandler's accountant in this film) really brings a different look and feel to the film. Some of the scenes don't work as well as others, but overall it is well written and solidly directed.
Sandler and Cheadle are both excellent. Sandler's character reminds a bit of his fine performance in "Punch Drunk Love", but here he brings much more depth. Cheadle is always fine and does a nice job of expressing the burden he carries ... just by watching him work a jigsaw puzzle.
Support work is excellent by Jada Pinkett Smith (as Cheadle's wife), Liv Tyler (as a very patient psychiatrist), Saffron Burrows (in an oddly appealing role), Donald Sutherland as an irritated judge and Melinda Dillon and Robert Klein as Sandler's in-laws.
The film really touches on how the tragic events of that day affected one man so deeply that he is basically ruined. In addition to the interesting story and some great shots of NYC, you have to love any film that features vocals from Chrissy Hynde, Bruce Springsteen and Roger Daltrey ... as well as Eddie Vedder impersonating Daltrey. Not exactly a chipper upbeat film, but it is a quality film with an unusual story.
This Movie was amazing, it is the kind of movie where you watch it and rather than look at other movies by actor you look at other movies by director/ writer. Sandler did a good job working a character outside of his comfort zone and the always good Cheadle did a great job too. This movie is great for a mature intelligent audience. The acting was fantastic and can only be surpassed by the Writing and directing of the film. This film focuses on the real Americans, the past generation, no stereotypes or Racism just people who have come together and realized the true meaning of life. This film is about loss and coping. Instead of picking on Psychiatry, it defines it, not as someone who heals you magically, but rather through the necessity of talking out your feeling to an impartial someone you can trust will not judge you, but rather will guide you though your thoughts. This movie is all round amazing!
Reign Over Me (titled after the who song) is a movie that is sure to
bring a tear to almost everyone's eye. It was a moving story of a guy
(sandler) that lost his family in the 9-11 world trade center attacks.
Years later, he runs into an old college roommate (cheadle) that he
doesn't even recognize due to the post-dramatic stress ensued by the
loss of his family. The two rekindle their old friendship and Cheadle's
character, Johnson, realizes that he must get Sandler's character,
Fineman, some help before it's too late.
This was the first movie that has made me cry in a long time. It's completely worth watching and after seeing it, I'm positive the viewer will appreciate his or her family much more.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Let me start by saying at the young age of 34 I was suddenly widowed. I
was devastated as he was NOT sick--- he died unexpectedly basically of
a coronary--- his carotids blew out-- he died behind our house. There
was a lot of speculation from police, cause he fell on something and it
bashed his head in. I was a suspect for murder until the autopsy came
My children were as traumatized as I was, so in love with a good father figure as he. I had three small children, no education, no financial support. I took it very, very hard.
Within two years my in-laws attacked me verbally, physically, emotionally and spiritually demanding I grieve not in front of the children, and put on masks and showed people what they wanted to see, not show them my pain during holidays... Nobody stood up for me and my choice to sit out one holiday, except of course, the grief therapist I was seeing that had advised me to follow my heart and soul. My in-laws didn't get it! It changed FOREVER my relationship with them, and I have never been back for a holiday. This is only one example of how my grief was disrespected! My own (new) husband has seen me fall apart talking about the trauma when I shared from my soul. I collapse, can not breathe, hyperventilate, and generally am defunct for a few days if I even try to convey the hidden pain.
Now about this movie...
Today, my soul was stirred, my heart broken. My fears and pain re-surfaced from the real demons this movie presents; how one grieves compared to how others expect us too and the demons within. Adam Sandler portrayed perfectly the horrendous agony you face, overcome and most of all, work through on your own time! This movie dredged up all the pain that I have tried over the years to deal with. You see, when something harms your soul so profoundly, so deep that utterances are all that come from your mouth in moments of thinking, you can not deal with it without wishing you were dead and walking through life, in a dead state.
The bible has a scripture, Romans 8:26 that I have clung to, that when my mouth and soul know not what to pray for, that God's Holy Spirit carries that agony to the feet of God-- I need not speak. Sandler portrayed that to perfection!
There is a scene where he has been hauled into a court hearing, for mental health commitment purposes, and he goes back in to face his in-laws--- (familiar to me)--- and he tells them the stunning truths that he has been possessed by, per Se, that he can't get over. It's a profoundly strong, and mighty performance. I started bawling and had a hard time after wards getting up to walk out from the theater feeling my legs too weak to do so. My son was with me and saw it first hand, my precise motions while trying to hold it all together; a lesson for him, my youngest who barely remembers his daddy. It's been 13 years for me but this movie brought me back to the moment of losing my in-laws forever when they demanded a mask on my emotions and my surrendering to their desires, instead of respect to my own.
I write this, so that if you are a griever, you are prepared for this movie, but recommend it highly in the 1000 star performance Sandler gave.
If you are not yet a griever, please take a lesson from his movie and just listen and accept people's choices in their grief, letting them find peace in their own time! Sometimes, the soul can not utter the words to convey our pain.
Go see this movie with tissues and not without preparing to take it in... to your soul!
The feel of this movie was amazing. Adam Sandler's performance was very inspiring. As he played a very rattled and fragile character, he took his ability to the very edge and really worked the role. His character was really interesting. I can see myself reading the script for this movie and not being half as interested in the part as Sandler made me. For someone who plays primarily comedy roles, he pulled off a serious role with what seemed to be his own quirks and input. I especially loved the scene in which Adam and Don's characters rode the motorized scooter around the city. I familiarized with the moment, because it seemed like Don was witnessing one thing Adam does to get away from it all. With his video games, music, and many other things he does to keep him from thinking about the past, riding his scooter with his headphones on seemed like an escape from his thoughts. This movie is definitely worth the watch.
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