Reign Over Me: Watching Movie Based on Trauma Essay

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  8
Wordcount:  1952 Words
Date:  2022-06-30


"Reign over me" is an American film that was transcribed and directed by Mike Binder. It was produced by Jack Binder and leased on March 2007 and feature on DVD and Blu-ray from October 2007 where the Columbia Pictures distributed it. The film is based on the situation of the most tragic days in the history of America where hundreds of families experienced unspeakable tragedy. Reign over me analyses the trauma and grief that the main character, Charlie Fineman is facing after losing his entire family. His friend and former college roommate, Alan Johnson and a dentist just like Charlie are trying to help him recover from this condition throughout the movie. Charlie's family comprising of wife and three daughters were among the victims who perished in a flights crash in World Trade Center in September 11th 2001. After all the grief of losing his loved ones, Charlie stopped his day-to-day activity as a dentist and started telling people that he does not have a family. Alan provided social support to him and suggested that he should see a therapist. After a few sessions, he attempted suicide, and his major indicators for trauma are excess anger and avoiding anything that represents his traumatic experience. This essay report will provide an analysis of the main character played by Adam Sandler to highlights the key symptoms of mental disorder or trauma. Also, it will discuss an examination of the signs of Charlie Fineman that led to a diagnosis of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Is your time best spent reading someone else’s essay? Get a 100% original essay FROM A CERTIFIED WRITER!

Trauma Responses and Symptoms that Impact Charlie

The primary indicator for diagnosis is to determine the background history and the lifestyle of Charlie Fineman. He went through a series of detrimental occasions which affected his post-traumatic disorder (PSTD) symptoms. For example, the film shows Mrs. Gillian informing Alan that Charlie's parents had passed away while he was still in a grade school. After then, his aunt whom he was living with after the death of his parent also died just before he could get married (Binder, 2007). This is a clear indication that Charlie had suffered from the influence of trauma responses in his historic lifestyle. The initial symptoms may have accumulated from the stress of losing his parents and aunt. The situation became much worse because his aunt passed away when Charlie is about to do his wedding. He also lived for a while without a job even though he was still wealthy for the money that he was saving.

American Psychiatric Association (2013) provides that the stages of trauma diagnosis must involve visible signs from the client. Some of these signs may include skin color, tone variation, eye contact and changes in appetite as well as one's experiences and feelings. Some of these features were observable in Charlie Fineman as he tried to avoid making eye contact, socially withdrawn, slow-paced voice with the rapid change of tone of his voice, he also became prone to anger and portrayed violet behavior. These were all the signs revealed by American Psychiatric Association (2013) as the significant indicators of trauma in various stages. Another symptom or response that indicated trauma is lack of sleep. Mr. Fineman spent late night hours watching movies and marathon till 05:00 AM on the following day.

Also, the film shows that his appetite was continually growing as we witnessed in his craving for Chinese food and pizza. The feelings observed in Charlie are also related to trauma as he tries to find the comfort of mind and fill the void of his experiences in life. He suffered loneliness anger and grief which triggered the need to seek help. He admitted that he is becoming insane in front of his in-laws saying that every day he sees his family in everyone's face. The loss of his dog is also revealed when he said that he considers his poodle bred dog in the German shepherd. These words were clear indications of trauma that he was going through throughout the movie. His life is full of traumatic occasions, and any rational individual can affirm that Charlie was having PTSD symptoms.

The client's medical history is another important symptom of trauma that provides a possible diagnosis (Gupta & Bonanno, 2011). The movie, Reign over me has not revealed any details of Charlie's medical history. What has been provided in the Binder's film is his medical encounters as an adult. For instance, Charlie is threatening to shoot a driver who almost knocked him. He pointed the gun at the driver, but all this was to attract the attention of the policemen whom would have shot him if he could not put his arm down. In Charlie's mind, this was a better chance to fulfill his mission of committing suicide, and he even hoped that the police would have shot at him. Instead, the state approved that Charlie would undergo a three-day psychological evaluation as he was a significant risk to himself and the city.

In the court hearing, the psychiatric evaluation findings showed that Charlie had PTSD which had affected his capability of functioning. The judge asked his in-laws to consider admitting Charlie to a psychiatrists' hospital for about one year or wait without hospitalization for the condition to heal on its own. Throughout the movie, Charlie has not shown any other medical record relating to mental disorder and not records available to show that he had a family-related case of mental illness (Binder, 2007). However, the scene where the psychiatric produced evidence in court on his medical history was enough to diagnose Charlie with the symptoms of PTSD.

Integration of the Theoretical Underpinnings of Trauma as They Apply to Character's Response

Gupta & Bonanno (2011) connoted that the symptoms of the diagnoses of PTSD must define the problem regarding responses from the client. There is a need for looking at one's statistical manual of mental disorder in the past years before making a conclusion. Most of the symptoms displayed by Charlie are better indications of trauma that were caused by the death of his loved ones and more specifically his family comprising of the wife and the three daughters. He appears helpless as indicated by his decision to play a violent video game. These were in the attempts of giving himself a sense of power where he can control the video game and even kill whoever character that he would have wanted to kill. In this situation, he had the ability to control life and death in the movie which he lacked in real life (Binder, 2007).

The other criteria that are invasive symptoms of PTSD are seen in Mr. Fineman's response to his feelings and on traumatic events. The continuous flashbacks of his wife and children reveal an intense impression of traumatic events that he was unable to forget. His friend Alan was trying to help him bring back his feelings, but the memories would hardly go off him. Whenever he heard of terror attacks on radios or television, he would think of his family and ended up in developing extreme anger and negative emotions. Charlie suffered from numerous distress for a long period as revealed in his character throughout the movie due to his internal and external exposure to cues that resembles an aspect of traumatic events. His symptoms are observable, and any rational psychiatric would tell the condition he was at was representing the signs to PTSD just as revealed by the American Psychiatric Association (2013).

Charlie become very uncomfortable and distracted when he saw the picture of his family or when he hears their names mentioned. This is an accurate reflection of the real-life situation since no one can persevere such grieving events like the ones Charlie is going through in his life. Most individuals who lose their loved ones find it hard to catch up with life and even end up in suffering from stress or mental disorder. Similarly, Mr. Fineman suffers from intensive psychological anguish and reactivity on whatever he was going through in the Binder's film Reign over me. He is seen shaking his head when listening to the talks that involved his family he even blocked his years and screamed excessively. Some people would translate his condition from being insane, but from understanding his experience, we can conclude that he only has a mental disorder which can gradually cure by visiting the psychiatric hospital.

The Impact of Trauma on Charlie's Functioning, Interpersonal Relationships Affect Behavior Cognition and Memory

The immediate effect of trauma is depression that causes mental disorder and influences the patient's functioning and the general behavior. There are observable signs of mental illness in Charlie's character. He made efforts of avoiding thoughts and feeling that would trigger his trauma. For instance, he tried to avoid answering questions about his family and whenever faced by such situations he would avoid it as much as he can or even pretended that they never existed. Gupta & Bonanno (2011) argued that avoidance is one of the best methods of responding to the trauma. Individuals in the society will tend to recover from grieving events in life by striving to forget and diversify their needs. Fineman also made all the efforts to avoid people and places that would trigger recollections of his traumatic condition. This is evidenced in the first scene at the beginning of the movie where he avoided speaking to his in-laws. He also showed no interest in participating in significant events that would influence his present condition. For instance, he surrendered his job as a dentist, and he avoided questions of getting back to his profession.

His interpersonal relationship was also affected by his condition and the mental disorder that he experienced in his life. For example, he developed feelings of estrangement and detachment from others. These are evidenced by his behavior of refusing to talk to his in-laws and detaching himself from friends. Sometimes it is obvious to lose friends in real-life when one faces numerous challenges in the society. People will always disown someone whom they see is of no value to them, or they have not hope of his recovery. However, a real friend character is seen in Alan who is determined to help Charlie in the situation he is going through. The impact of trauma on a personal relationship is also seen in Charlie's new perception of ladies. He avoided answering the question of whether he would have a girlfriend in future even after all his family perished in a flight crash. Also, Charlie lost his memory on recent events. Cognitive psychology provides enough evidence on how the loss of consciousness signifies mental disorder that may result from intensive distress (Gupta & Bonanno, 2011). The prolonged psychological disturbances cause significant impairment in social and other areas of functioning of the victim.

Identification of resilience and risk factors that may exist

Trauma is associated with numerous risks as evidenced by Charlie's life and his situation. His socio-cultural factors resulted from the instability of his family which he lost shockingly. His parents had also passed away earlier, and he was brought up by the aunt which denied him much confidence to face file situations. He opted to live in isolation and avoided interacting with people, and whenever he did, he could only say inappropriate things. This accelerated his risk of trauma and mental disorder which he could not overcome. It is also clear that Charlie Fineman had stayed in this crucial condition for a long time as evidenced by the words of his landlady and even the judge. The landlady said that Charlie has been in that condition for several months and while the judge asserted that the medical report indicated that he has been suffering from the illness for some years (Binder, 2007). This increased the risk to PTSD as many psychiatrists argue th...

Cite this page

Reign Over Me: Watching Movie Based on Trauma Essay. (2022, Jun 30). Retrieved from

Free essays can be submitted by anyone,

so we do not vouch for their quality

Want a quality guarantee?
Order from one of our vetted writers instead

If you are the original author of this essay and no longer wish to have it published on the ProEssays website, please click below to request its removal:

didn't find image

Liked this essay sample but need an original one?

Hire a professional with VAST experience!

24/7 online support

NO plagiarism