Film Review – Reign Over Me

When you think of Adam Sandler, you think of the comedies that you grew up with, the potty humor and the cheap laughs that he gave you. One thing that you do not think of right away is great dramatic acting. While he has dabbled a bit in dramatic acting with Punch Drunk Love and Spanglish, his characters from movies such as Billy Madison and Happy Gilmore generally seem to come to mind first. After seeing this movie, it became clear to me that Adam Sandler has a mild form of what I like to refer to as the Jim Carrey disorder. When Jim Carrey first became a household name in the 90’s, he was popular for his character acting and his over-the-top comedy style. He began to test his dramatic limits with The Truman Show and The Majestic and then went on to star in one of the greatest movies of recent times Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Jim Carrey can be a very funny guy, but he is also an extremely underrated dramatic actor. He tends to choose the funny roles over the serious ones, and it appears that in the case of Adam Sandler the same can be said.

It was extremely refreshing to see Adam Sandler break out of his typical infant-trapped-in-an-adult-body role as a depressive recluse living alone in New York City. As Charlie Fineman, Sandler shined, showing us his true acting caliber. This role became much more powerful, because it was delivered from an actor whom you would not expect it from. Although there was nothing wrong with the performances given from the other actors, he was easily the best part of the movie. Don Cheadle portrayed a very believable best friend character, struggling to help Charlie come out of his misery. As he helps Charlie to grow and become happier, he, in turn, grows in his own life.

The first half of this movie was very, very slow. I found myself almost bored at parts but attempting to stay in the story because of my interest in Charlie as a character. Once Charlie begins to open up about his past and what had caused him to become the hermit he is, the movie becomes all the more interesting, bringing you in to the sadness that he must live with every day of his life. He makes you think about that what if; What if it was you? What if you were left to deal with that tragedy, broken and alone? What would you do?

After watching this, I was left disappointed, knowing that the movies Sandler had come after this one were some of the worst of his career. While he has had a few other dramatic acting roles, I found Spanglish to be an overall poor movie and I have yet to view Punch Drunk Love, which is regarded as his best dramatic role. Now that we have seen he has the acting chops to pull off roles such as these, we can only hope he will decide to play another Charlie Fineman one day soon.

3.5 out of 5 stars