Finally! Hollywood's made a guy's buddy movie that women will want to watch.
Reign Over Me centers on the deeply emotional stories of former college roommates Charlie (Adam Sandler) and Alan (Don Cheadle). Both struggle with personal demons that have forced each into a life of safe routine and quiet solitude. While Charlie's emotional pain is obvious--his entire family died on one of the plans that struck the World Trade Center buildings--Alan is quietly allowing himself to become lost in a life that's unfulfilled and monotonous.
In typical buddy-movie style, both have their lives improved by the rekindling of their friendship.
Lots of men I know--me, included-- can identify with Cheadle's character, Alan Johnson. While Sandler's Charlie Fineman is the more dramatic character, it's Johnson's distress that most men will recognize and understand. We're reminded of the subtle ways in which we can lose our identity and our vitality, if we aren't keeping a careful watch.
Alan Johnson was once a dental school student who was excited about the life he was carving out for himself. Years later, his renewed friendship with Fineman helps him recognize he'd become so focused on a specific lifestyle that he's forgotten the small aspects of life that make that lifestyle rewarding: family, friends and enjoying the moment.
The movie is a little too long, and is even a bit melodramatic at times. But, the acting of Cheadle, the unraveling of Charlie's story and the film's message make up for most of that. I really liked Reign Over Me mostly, though, because it made me reflect on my own life and take measure of my own priorities.