The Best Adam Sandler Dramatic Performance Is Being Hidden From Audiences

By TeeJay Small | Updated

Adam Sandler reign over me

By now, most audiences have become privy to the fact that Adam Sandler can pull off a heart-wrenching dramatic performance when he wants to. Despite appearing in mostly silly blockbusters such as Grown Ups, Little Nicky, and Hubie Halloween, Adam Sandler has a handful of incredible dramatic movies under his belt, including Uncut Gems, Punch-Drunk Love, and Reign Over Me. Reign Over Me is a particularly deep film that showcases the celebrated actor’s range, making it a true shame that the film is not currently available on streaming.

Sandler Wasn’t The First Choice

Reign Over Me was written and directed by Mike Binder, who originally envisioned Tom Cruise and Javier Bardem in the leading roles. While neither of these casting choices ultimately worked out, Bardem was responsible for showing Adam Sandler the Reign Over Me script, after seeing Sandler’s intense dramatic chops on display in Punch-Drunk Love.

Sandler was trepidatious about signing on to a film with such dark subject matter at first, but ultimately came to love the character, and agreed.

Critics Loved It

adam sandler reign over me

Several high-profile stars join Adam Sandler in the cast of Reign Over Me, including such performers as Don Cheadle, Jada Pinkett Smith, Liv Tyler, Donald Sutherland, Robert Klein, and Breaking Bad‘s Jonathan Banks.

The film premiered to positive reviews in 2007, and serves as the very first project funded by Sandler’s Madison 23 subsidiary, which focuses on dramatic films. Despite pleasing critics, Reign Over Me didn’t make much at the box office, drawing in a grand total of $22 million globally against an estimated $20 million budget.

Suffering From Trauma

Adam Sandler stars in Reign Over Me as Charlie Fineman, a devastated widower who lost his wife and two young daughters in the September 11 attacks. In the years since he suffered this great loss, Charlie has lost a great deal of his sanity, becoming a shadow of his former self, stumbling around New York City on a motorized scooter with his head down.

One day, Charlie stumbles into his former college roommate in a chance encounter, but Charlie can barely speak or indicate that he recognizes him.

Alan Helps Charlie

adam sandler reign over me

The former roommate, Alan, is shocked at Charlie’s disheveled appearance and dead-behind-the-eyes aura, and becomes determined to get to the bottom of Charlie’s problems. Before long, Alan gets Charlie to recognize him, and tries to set him up with a therapist in order to properly work through his unspeakable trauma relating to the 9/11 terrorist attack.

If you’re feeling shocked that Adam Sandler would agree to take on such deeply sensitive subject matter, you surely need to see Reign Over Me to understand just how well he pulls it off.

It Should Be Streaming, But It Isn’t


As the film progresses, Adam Sandler and Don Cheadle showcase the power of friendship, while delivering some of the finest dramatic acting of either of their respective careers. Adam Sandler is particularly impactful at displaying grief and emotional trauma in Reign Over Me, in a way that he has never replicated since. If you’re interested in catching the film today, you’re unfortunately out of luck, as no major streamer is currently offering Reign Over Me as part of their streaming library.