Just got done watching Reign Over Me. I happened to love it even if it didn’t get too much of a good review among critics. I think over time it’ll prove to be a film that lasts though Adam Sandler might not get any recognition for being the great actor that he is. I guess the film studios allow him to keep making dramatic films that bomb to keep him happy as long as he cranks out great selling comedies. It’s sad how people try to stereotype actors as either comedians or serious. Even the people coming out of a more comedic background like Jamie Foxx or even Will Smith have to eventually distance themselves from too much comedy. But I digress…
The movie is about two old college roommates that run into each other by chance. They both went to dental school. One is a successful practitioner and the other a depressed recluse that lost his family in the terrorist attacks. Adam Sandler’s character basically lives in a time capsule of his own life before marriage and everything that happened, effectively erasing all the good times and bad times that followed. He’s a bit of a nut case with the heart of a kid.
Don Cheadle’s a successful dentist with loving wife and daughters. He’s happy or at least he thinks he’s happy. In the course of helping Adam, he finds himself discovering his old self, having fun and discovering the issues he’s had with not being able to assert himself more and live his own life.
Adam doesn’t have a job, doesn’t have real friends, just a whole lot of money and time on his hands spent continuously remodelling a kitchen he’ll never use, collecting records, playing drums, playing a video game, and riding around New York on a rickety scooter.
Adam really does an excellent job portraying the shell of a man that lost everything that he loves.
I can definitely see where critics and audiences find fault. I think it’s the fact that the movie really lacks any real plot. It’s a good film that covers the moment a man living in darkness starts finding the light. At the same time, the drama is low key throughout and there aren’t really any twists and turns, just a couple dramatic moments here and there. All the time he spent shutting out memories of the family he had, all the pain just comes back and the tears never stop when he remembers.
I guess one of the major flaws is that Adam is somehow rich. Multi-million dollar rich. He looks like he could be homeless but he’s richer than anyone else coming out in the film. There’s not enough of a struggle there. I guess it is what holds the film together in another sense because a successful dentist would have trouble hanging out with a homeless friend from the past. It’s hard to put a finger on it but the scenes where Adam opens up near the end are quite vivid and the dialogue is really well done if you take a good listen to what’s being said. It makes you think about grieving and depression in the first person and the film is definitely under-rated.