The Magic of Belle Isle (2012)
Reuniting with director Rob Reiner from the hit film, The Bucket List, Freeman plays Monte Wildhorn, a famous Western novelist whose struggle with alcoholism has sapped his passion for writing. He takes a lakeside cabin for the summer in picturesque Belle Isle, and befriends the family next door-an attractive single mom (Madsen) and her young daughters-who help him find inspiration again. -- (C) Magnolia
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Critic Reviews for The Magic of Belle Isle
If this were real life and not a movie, Mr. Wildhorn would be written off as a crank and ostracized within a week.
You can quarrel with the smiley-face outcome of every ordeal, but the tenderness and optimism are so powerful and ingratiating that only a viewer with the darkest sensibility will go away untouched.
Shamelessly schmaltzy and predictable from first moment to last, Rob Reiner's The Magic of Belle Isle nonetheless manages to conjure a certain spell.
Madsen, a strong actress who might have matched Freeman, is portrayed in varying shades of blandness. Even Freeman, good as his is, is held back here.
So resolutely inoffensive that it flirts with Hallmark Hall of Fame territory.
All we're left with is an uneven story that could have landed on "Best of Straight-to-DVD" shelves or the $1 bin at your local Walmart for Grandma to find.
Freeman, an actor who can be fierce and disagreeable on screen and in person, is content to turn on the twinkle. Unfortunately, Reiner seems all too happy to let him.
The problems with the dialog and story are overcome by the fact that this is a very nice, warm, romantic story with some magic in it.
This is a cuddly puppy of a movie - what heart is so dark to do it violence?
Corny, obvious, and shallow as a puddle, it traffics in outdated stereotypes, overused cliches, and ham-handed emotions. Trust me: your 80 year-old grandmother will love this movie.
Probably only in theaters because ABC Family said, 'Sorry, this is a little hokey for us.'
Sometimes it's difficult to remember that Reiner once directed This is Spinal Tap.
The film lacks subtlety and never misses a chance to tug at the heartstrings, gradually drowning amid all of its melodramatic contrivances.
As sticky-sweet and textureless as a bowl of pudding, though an amused central performance from star Morgan Freeman continually finds nuance and the unexpected where there ultimately isn't any.
Audience Reviews for The Magic of Belle Isle
Sweet, charming movie Rob Reiner style. Many chuckle moments that I got a kick out of, especially with the character Carl. Morgan Freeman is wonderful, as usual...More
Comic drama that can best be described as nice, Morgan Freeman and Virginia Madsen make it seem better than it is.More
Rob Reiner is a good at taking adult themes, and turning them into good family orientated films. "Stand By Me" is my favorite Reiner movie, as I grew up watching that with my mom. Here, Morgan Freeman plays Monte, a alcoholic, paralyzed writer, who has lost the will to to write. Monte movies to Belle Isle and befriends a single mom(Virginia Madsen) and her three young daughters, whom help him find his inspiration again. It's a good, sweet natured, borderline sappy PG movie. The performances are all good, especially Freeman. It's good to see him in an actual leading role again instead of a supporting player or voice over. The rest of the cast is very good, as all three daughters do a terrific job, as does the usually great Madsen. It may be too boring for kids, and honestly it does drag a little during the middle, but it's still very entertaining and a good watch. Good watch.More
Morgan Freeman and Virginia Madsen's performances are the best reason to watch this film. They shine in the film and have a great on screen chemistry. Keenan Thompson also does a good job with his supporting role. All 3 daughters in the film are great too.
My problem with the film was the tone of the film. It felt too much like an after school TV movie than a regular theatrical release. Also the pacing was off. Some scenes are too slow.
Still, despite the flaws, I do recommend the film, especially for Freeman and Madsen's performances.
The Magic of Belle Isle Quotes
- Monte Wildhorn:
- Imagination--the most powerful force ever made available to mankind.
- Monte Wildhorn:
- Nobody cares about a writer nobody reads.
- That's because you don't write.
- Finnegan O'Neil:
- You tell me to see what's not there why can't you write what's not there?
- Finnegan O'Neil:
- You don't have to leave this planet to tell a good story.
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