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All Critics (33)
| Top Critics (15)
| Fresh (10)
| Rotten (23)
There's a comforting inevitability to The Magic of Belle Isle, as an alcoholic author spends a soothing, rejuvenating summer in a sleepy lakeside village.
If this were real life and not a movie, Mr. Wildhorn would be written off as a crank and ostracized within a week.
It's earnest, predictable and disposable.
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.
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.
Uninspiring sentimental inspirational pic.
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Corny, obvious, and shallow as a puddle, it traffics in outdated stereotypes, overused cliches, and ham-handed emotions.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.
This is a hidden gem from director Rob Reiner, reconnecting him with Morgan Freeman from The Bucket List. If you enjoyed that film, you'll probably like this one as well. This concerns a journey through life's turmoil, although without the presence of Nicholson-much less acerbic. Belle Isle is a beautiful, tender story about characters you really care about. Like Bucket List, this movie is about second chances in life, making the best of what time you have left. I appreciated that it had a theme for every stage of life, although it centered on Monte Wildhorn (Freeman). The intersection of his life with the newly-divorced mother and children of varying ages next door was the perfect complement and foil for Wildhorn. The film does venture into schmaltzy, Hallmark territory, but just go with it. Allowing yourself simply to be inspired and entertained won't hurt.
One criticism: The sort-of romantic angle between Monte Wildhorn and Charlotte O'Neil (Virginia Madsen) seemed forced, not plausible or realistic to me. Madsen was quoted as saying that her on-screen relationship with Freeman (albeit brief) was the first on-screen romance in his long, storied career. Kudos to Reiner, then for thinking outside the box.
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...
Comic drama that can best be described as nice, Morgan Freeman and Virginia Madsen make it seem better than it is.
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.
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