The Magic of Belle Isle
Release Year: 2012
Director: Rob Reiner
Writer: Guy Thomas
Starring: Morgan Freeman, Virginia Madsen, Madeline Carroll, Emma Furhmann, Nicolette Pierini, Kenan Thompson, C.J. Wilson, Ash Christian, Debargo Sanyal, Fred Willard, Jessica Hecht, Kevin Pollak
Monte Wilhorn (Morgan Freeman) a disillusioned former writer of Western novels is pushed by his nephew into housesitting for the Summer in the idyllic town of Belle Isle. Here he begrudgingly befriends Charlotte (Virginia Madsen) and her three daughters, who live next door.
I have to admit my expectations for The Magic of Belle Isle were relatively low; I expected a run-of-the-mill sweet film that might as well have been made for television had it not been for the a-list actors. What I got instead was one of the best feel-good movies in ages. Freeman (Now You See Me, 2013) plys a cranky old writer who has lost the joy of living since his wife passed away. Essentially cranky man meets troubled woman with adorable kids (all three of whom are great, by the way) and old cranky man’s life is changed for the better. He becomes especially attached to the middle daughter (played by Emma Furhmann), whom he agrees to mentor. It is very straight forward with no surprises, but it is so charming and so endearing that it is bound to put a smile on your face. Director Rob Reiner (Alex & Emma, 2003) often tries his hand at charmingly sentimental films, but this is one of his best efforts. Highly recommended to anyone who enjoys a genuine feel-good film, but one to avoid for the cynical.
Despite a 40 year long film career behind him, this was Freeman’s first on screen romance.
Picture Copyright: Lighthouse Home Entertainment