For today’s first review of The Magic of Belle Isle (2012), here’s a review by Kim of Tranquil Dreams
Director: Rob Reiner
Cast: Morgan Freeman, Virginia Madsen, Emma Fuhrmann, Madeline Carroll, Nicolette Pierini
Monte Wildhorn (Morgan Freeman), an old Western novelist who has turned into an alcoholic after losing his creative touch for many years is brought by his nephew to Belle Isle to stay for the summer. Fully accomodated in this home, his one task is to drink and watch over the owner’s dog. When the next door neighbor, Charlotte O’Neill (Virginia Madsen) and her three daughters, Willow (Madeline Carroll), Finnegan (Emma Fuhrmann) and Flora (Nicolette Pierini) start to approach him, they each help me to find his creative passion and himself again.
The Magic of Belle Isle is a feel-good charming little movie. There are a few factors that you know will make you love it. The first guarantee is that Rob Reiner is the director. If When Harry Met Sally, Princess Bride or Flipped (the only few I’ve watched from his) is any indication, Rob Reiner knows how to put a feel good story enveloped with a decent bit of humor and drama mixed together successfully.
Lets say you aren’t convinced, The Magic of Belle Isle may have a rather generic story about, as they call it, a re-coming of age. Its rather predictable but the performances here are heartfelt and warm from everyone. Morgan Freeman is a man that I can watch in anything. He just brings it as Monte Wildhorn and you can see the character development for him especially. Plus, I can listen to Morgan Freeman talk all day. He has one of the best voices ever. Doesn’t matter if he’s playing a drunk or trying to teach little girls something important about imagination.
Plus, how long has it been since I’ve seen Virginia Madsen? Candyman? It actually wasn’t that long, she was also in Witches of East End in season one. Either way, I loved her here. The whole chemistry she had with Morgan Freeman was really classy. Its weird to see adults talk so formally to each other but somehow it worked for me.
Don’t even start me on the three girls. Madeline Carroll was in Flipped so I recognized her. Although her character, Willow and the youngest Flora (played by Nicolette Pierini) was really fun to watch, Finnegan (played by Emma Fuhrmann) was the main adorable character here. She’s imaginative and fearless, except sometimes she doesn’t actually know. While she’s looking for a mentor in Monte, she actually inspires him a lot also.
Now that I’ve talked a lot about characters and cast being wonderful. The music was really well chosen as well, adding in a dab of some beautiful classical pieces. The story may be simple but maybe as an aspiring writer or someone stuck in that writer’s block or just creative but not finding the imagination, this is an inspirational movie about creativity and imagination and the world you can build that would lead to a lot of even happier moments in life.
The Magic of Belle Isle is simple but the heartfelt performances by the cast brings in a charming, warm and feel-good vibe. That makes this movie so great and why I’d recommend it 🙂