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Reign Over Me Review Critics


Dave White Profile

… a decent movie for thoughtful adult audiences … Read full review

Other Critics provided by

Critics scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.

  • 4.0

    out of 100

    Generally favorable reviews
    based on a weighted average of all
    critic review scores.

  • 50

    out of 100

    Wall Street Journal Joe Morgenstern

    This is not a simple picture. It's serious, disarmingly funny at times and certainly ambitious, yet diminished by some of the traits that have made the standard Sandler characters so popular.

  • 67

    out of 100

    Entertainment Weekly Lisa Schwarzbaum

    A strange, black-and-blue therapeutic drama equally mottled with likable good intentions and agitating clumsiness.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    USA Today Claudia Puig

    This is not a simple, uplifting tale. It's never clear whether Charlie will fully recover, and that sense of realism is the film's strength.

    Read Full Review

  • 75

    out of 100

    Chicago Tribune Michael Wilmington

    Reign works better much better than "Upside" because of the cast and because Sandler and Cheadle together keep it lighter. It's an easy film to watch, but less easy to be moved by.

    Read Full Review

  • 80

    out of 100

    The Hollywood Reporter

    It doesn't exploit our emotions about Sept. 11; it simply tells a story that exists because of what happened that day -- one that should resonate with a wide, appreciative audience.

    Read Full Review

  • See all Reign Over Me reviews at

For Families provided by Common Sense Media

Iffy for 15+

Grief-stricken Adam Sandler deals with 9/11.

What Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this isn't an Adam Sandler comedy. Rather, it's a drama about a man's ongoing response to losing his family on 9/11. For much of the film, Sandler's character is ragged-looking, distraught, aggressive, and foul-mouthed -- though he can also be charming in a childish way. His visits to a therapist are mostly sad, as is his eventual lengthy description of his loss. There's lots of swearing and derogatory slang, as well as discussion of suicide (one nearly successful attempt is shown), insanity, institutionalization, and oral sex. Some yelling, pushing, and hitting takes place during a fight, and minor drinking in bar leads to an argument.

  • Families can talk about the lingering effects of 9/11 on our culture. How have the media treated the event? How do tragic stories and images help us work through emotional wounds? How does Donna's trauma affect her differently than Charlie's affects him? Why do you think Charlie is so fond of popular culture that reminds him of his youth (comics, '80s bands, video games, etc.)? How does the media help define an era?

The good stuff
  • message true0

    Messages: Various traumas produce various effects: a widower behaves "badly," using inappropriate language and aggression with his friend; his in-laws try to have him committed; a woman becomes obsessed with sex; and a suffocated husband becomes angry. All reconcile, neatly, by film's end.

What to watch for
  • violence false3

    Violence: References to 9/11 (none visual) make Charlie and other characters upset; a character's father dies, causing grief; video game shooting, exploding, crashing; Charlie pushes and hits Alan; Charlie pulls a gun on a cabbie, hoping that nearby cops will shoot him ("suicide by cop") -- instead, they tackle him.

  • sex false3

    Sex: Woman offers her dentist oral sex in his office, then stalks him, returning to see him and threatening him with a harassment lawsuit (discussion of this problem includes body part names and slangy words and phrases like "penis," "she wants to do down on me," "she wants to blow you"); when Charlie visits a therapist, he talks about her "tits."

  • language false5

    Language: Frequent uses of "f--k" and "s--t", plus "ass," "asshole," "damn," "sucks," "bitch," "p---y," "chrissake," and "hell." A lengthy barrage of insults includes repeated uses of "faggot." Other phrases include "suck my ass, retard!" and "he's a giant dork!" A movie-within-the-movie screening of Blazing Saddles includes a bleeped-out series of jokes using the "N" word (the audience laughs at the jokes).

  • consumerism false3

    Consumerism: Starbucks, Shadow of the Colossus video game, Colonel Sanders (stand up display in an apartment), Captain America, many mentions of bands (Pretenders, The Who, Bruce Springsteen) and a Mel Brooks marathon.

  • drugsalcoholtobacco false3

    Drinking, drugs and smoking: Beer drinking in bar, wine drinking in restaurant.