With the acclaim that’s sure to come Sandler’s way, it’s easy to overlook another solid performance from Cheadle, whose credentials need no burnishing. He was unforgettable in Hotel Rwanda and has been a solid presence in the films of director Steven Soderbergh (Out of Sight, Oceans 11). Here, his emotional breakthrough is much more low-key than Charlie’s, but beautiful in the way it navigates temptation and embraces traditional morality.

Loneliness and isolation are not God’s design. Whether married or single, friends help us when we face trouble. “If one falls down, his friend can help him up. But pity the man who falls and has no one to help him up!” (Ecclesiastes 4:10).

The characters in Reign Over Me do not look heavenward for help, but the movie’s joy is in its story of old friends reunited—in what that friendship means for one man’s ability to face reality, and for the other’s realization of the blessings he’s already been given.

The film’s conclusion, with its signs of hope and rest, once again brings to mind Springsteen’s “Hungry Heart”:

Everybody needs a place to rest
Everybody wants to have a home
Don’t make no difference what nobody says
Ain’t nobody like to be alone

CAUTIONS:

  • Language/Profanity:  Lord’s name taken in vain; multiple profanities; anti-gay slur; crude reference to a woman’s breasts; a crude joke about prison.
  • Drugs/Alcohol:  A bar scene; a man drinks alone.
  • Sex/Nudity:  An offer of oral sex.
  • Violence:  Discussion of family members who perished in a plane crash; reckless driving; a man throws a drink in another man’s face; men fight; a man threatens a psychiatrist; a man points a gun and tries to provoke police to shoot him.