Generally favorable reviews - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 33
  2. Negative: 1 out of 33
  1. The incredibly moving post-9/11 drama Reign Over Me proves that behind the funny guy facades of former standup comedians Mike Binder and Adam Sandler are a pair of very serious talents.
  2. 91
    It's a courageous, moving, organically funny picture.
  3. Reviewed by: Scott Foundas
    If Binder has a considerably heavier hand when it comes to metaphor, his movie nevertheless remains buoyant because the feelings in it are immutable, and because Sandler has never before held the screen with greater intensity.
  4. Despite a few weak points, the most heavily dramatic Sandler vehicle to date is a striking, genuinely touching, meticulously well-acted friendship parable, and a big audience pleaser.
  5. Reviewed by: John DeFore
    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.
  6. Reviewed by: Joe Leydon
    Sandler (never making a false step while maneuvering though vertiginous mood swings) and Cheadle (deftly commingling instinctive decency with quiet desperation) are individually excellent, and bring out the best in each other. And the picture itself transcends its real but relatively minor flaws to score a satisfyingly potent impact.
  7. 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.
  8. A triumph for Cheadle and Sandler, whose performances strew the seeds of regeneration.
  9. Reviewed by: 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.
  10. Reviewed by: Glenn Kenny
    A thoughtful, involving and sometimes moving film that almost (and I do mean almost) justifies its use of 9/11 as a dramatic device.
  11. 70
    Binder has set a difficult bar -- to make a funny, sad, original movie about the healing power of not necessarily healing -- and he just manages to clear it.
  12. 70
    That is an unusually gloomy proposition not just for a studio movie but for a society that, despite the acts and sites of official commemoration, must find good cause to forge ahead from catastrophe. Reign Over Me closes with, at best, a cautious hope, leaving us more anxious than when we went in, and throughout the film there is a stunned and bewildered air hanging over the city, like a heavy smog.
  13. 70
    Though the pain of this 9/11 story doesn't pierce as deeply as it should, the laughs are consistently humane.
  14. Cheadle takes what could have been a role as a mere foil and creates a rich portrait of a vaguely discontented married man. Yet the drama sputters once it reaches a contrived and melodramatic climax that feels undernourished and artificial – both less than and more than one had hoped for.
  15. A strange, black-and-blue therapeutic drama equally mottled with likable good intentions and agitating clumsiness.
  16. 67
    The good news is that this movie is no "Spanglish;" the bad news is that Sandler's performance is actually better than the material deserves.
  17. 67
    At its heart a simple story about friendship and loss, carried over with enough genuine feeling to excuse its uncertain footing.
  18. Reviewed by: Ty Burr
    In its best moments, Reign Over Me quietly says that we're our problem friends' keepers. At its worst, the movie IS a problem friend.
  19. Reviewed by: Helen O'Hara
    Cheadle's finest hour and proof that Sandler can act. Funny, sad and flawed -- like its characters.
  20. 60
    Movies about male friendship are often trivialized with the "buddy" tag, but this one resonates beyond that.
  21. 50
    Depends on one's ability to accept Sandler in the part: For me, the casting felt too much like a stunt, a filmmaker's compromise to get his intimate, uncommercial script green-lit.
  22. 50
    It's not exactly a surprise the makers of Reign Over Me feel compelled to manufacture a happy ending for a story that really has none. Pity.
  23. As moving as some parts are, it's muddled by a script that tries to pack in too much. There's sufficient material for a couple of films and a sitcom.
  24. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    As overstuffed as a twice-baked potato.
  25. 50
    It's tough to make a good tearjerker - one need look no further than this misfire to understand why.
  26. Reign Over Me drizzles down on us for two full hours, persistently determined to prove that, if it hangs around long enough, a coherent movie will turn up. No such luck.
  27. Sandler, whose mop of curls makes him look like a 40-ish Bob Dylan, acts up a satisfying storm. Cheadle remains an appealing island of calm; other cast members deliver the little that's asked of them.
  28. 50
    Has some nice touches. Cheadle is capable as always, and Paula Newsome kills as his acerbic receptionist.
  29. 50
    A very gentle picture, intended to soothe us, not to jolt or shock us. But it's so gentle that it lacks any discernible energy; sometimes it seems there's barely enough tension in the story to keep the images from sliding off the screen.
  30. The film is slick when it needs to be raw, tidy when it needs to sprawl, and amorphous when it needs to focus.
  31. 50
    Reign Over Me uses the rhythms and moods of comedy to explore, and also to contain, overpowering feelings of loss, anger and hurt. And like that earlier movie ("The Upside of Anger"), this one is maddeningly uneven.
  32. 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.
  33. 38
    Veering between sentimentality and exploitation with a few misguided stops at raunchy sex farce, Reign Over Me never finds a tone to suit its purpose.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 86 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 34 out of 40
  2. Negative: 3 out of 40
  1. Mar 1, 2014
    Adam Sandler gives a heartbreaking performance as a man who has lost everything in his life. It's such a shame that he was not nominated for an Oscar. Full Review »
  2. Mar 13, 2012
    A fantastic movie that's also an eye opener and emotionally moving, Sandler and Cheadle both gave fantastic performances, I recommend Sandler fans watching so they can see Sandler's more serious side, the characters are extremely likable and the movie is incredibly well written, I highly recommend watching, although not one for younger audiences, it's got nice touches of humor sprinkled throughout, and the friendship between Sandler's and Cheadle's characters is 100% believable, I don't typically watch these kinds of movies, but I'm a huge Sandler fan and I was very happy with this movie, I highly recommend. Full Review »
  3. Nov 15, 2011
    A deep, compelling drama that might not interest many but delivers satisfaction if you stay tuned 'till the end. Not used to seeing Adam Sandler in a different pair of shoes which might keep you in zone seeing something so.. odd. Full Review »