Reign Over Me: A picture of Marriage

Last Friday night, Amy and I watched the first 10 minutes of Reign Over Me. After she fell asleep, I watched the last hour and a half of of the movie.
In case you’re not familiar with it, it features Don Cheadle (Hotel Rwanda) and Adam Sandler. I’m becoming a huge Don Cheadle fan these days.

Adam Sandler’s character’s family dies in the 911 crash, and he is emotionally unable to continue his dentist practice. Don Cheadle hasn’t seen him in years, and finds him in this state. Much of the depicts this overwhelming relationship.

But there’s more than just that relationship. By the end of the movie, I think it portrayed a realistic and hopeful picture of marriage. Cheadle’s character (like all dudes) desires to have hobbies of his own (this is not bad in itself). More than that, he feels suffocated from his wife’s desire to do things like puzzles and photography classes together. And of course like most lads, he remains silent in his frustrations.

Well, in walks his friend who needs help, and Cheadle spends most of his waking hours with Sandler. In other words, he runs. That’s what guys do: we run. When there are problems with marriage, we want to find anything to which we can run. Since Cheadle doesn’t have any hobbies, he throws himself into this relationship hoping to help Sandler. In part, that’s admirable.

But he does so to the neglect of his family. In addition, I think there’s a secondary motivation going on. It’s easier. It’s easier to run to anything outside, be it a friend, hobby, beer, etc…, than to deal honestly with your marriage and family. It just is. And guys are notorious for it. And this movie captures it very well.

By the end, Cheadle begins to see his own errors, his own selfishness, and his own dishonesty. He apologizes and the two come together. And so overall, we see an accurate, and redeeming picture of marriage. By the way, don’t NOT see it because of Sandler. He’s really quite amazing in this movie.

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