Reign Over Me
starring Adam Sandler, Don Cheadle, Liv Tyler, Jada Pinkett Smith, Saffron Burrows, Robert Klein, Melinda Dillion, Mike Binder and Donald Sutherland
written and directed by Mike Binder
This is the first Adam Sandler film I have seen that was not a comedy. It’s a powerful psychological drama that might make you cry. It’s interesting to see Mike Binder, the writer and director, in a small role. I didn’t know who he was at the time and had to double-check the credits and watch the movie again.
Sandler plays a dentist whose family - including the dog - died during the 9/11 plane hijackings and crashes. He never recovered but lives a severely withdrawn life on the money from the U.S. government’s insurance payout to 9/11 survivors. Several years after the event his old dental college roommate, played by Don Cheadle (who is another black actor that I love) sees him on the street and tracks him down. Hoping to renew an old friendship, Cheadle discovers a broken wreck of a human being. The contact between the men is the crack in the shell of Sandler’s isolation and the much-needed therapy finally begins.
When Sandler finally opens up and tells his story it’s heartbreaking and well played.
What of the title? It comes from The Who’s beautiful and powerful song “Love Reign O’er Me.” In his depression, like a teenager Sandler uses his iPod to cut out the world and bury himself in distracting music.