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The Magic of Belle Isle
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The Magic of Belle Isle More at IMDbPro »

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40 out of 47 people found the following review useful:

.Depressed writer goes to cabin and learns to live and write again.

Author: rsvidor
12 July 2012

The Magic of Bell Island is a fantastic feel good movie especially for seniors.

Four of us attended and left in a great mood. The scenery and the sets were very realistic. The acting was brilliant, especially the children.

The film had many themes: Reality vs Imagination, Alcholism, Death of a spouse, Divorce, Bringing up children, Dog sitting, Baseball players problems, living with handicaps,and more.

I recommend this film for seniors, married couples, and families with children.

I wonder if the author went on to write for children, another positive talent that he didn't realize he had.

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43 out of 54 people found the following review useful:

Feel Good Movie

Author: ssienra from Canada
20 July 2012

With all the crap coming out Hollywood these days, this is a feel good movie and if you really pay attention to the undertones, the movie lifts you up and is inspiring. The acting is fairly good, and Morgan F. as always has the right line to say at each moment.

If you are in the mood for a family gathering type movie with a happy ending, this is a one to watch.

The movie is inspirational and although the love innuendo between the two main characters can be thought by some to be distasteful, the real age of Monty is never revealed in the film so assumptions should not be made based on Morgan Freeman's real age.

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34 out of 41 people found the following review useful:

A great family movie about finding yourself again. Great acting and excellent message. I recommend this. I say A.

Author: Tony Heck ( from United States
1 August 2012

"It don't happen often but sometimes we do bring out the best in each other." After the death of his wife famous writer Monte Wildhorn (Freeman) stops writing and takes up drinking. He moves into a lake house to escape everyone and relax. After meeting his neighbor Charlotte O'Neil (Madsen) and her daughters he begins to change the way he feels about life. One of the biggest problems I have with movies is that about 70% of them are so predictable that after ten minutes you know how it will end. Sometimes that affects how good a movie is and sometimes it doesn't matter. This movie is the later. After fifteen minutes I could have written the ending myself and it would have been identical to the way this one ended. All that said this is a great movie still and Morgan Freeman is about the only actor who can take a very ornery character and make you like him even at his worst. There are not many non-cartoon movies that are great for the whole family to watch. This is one of them. Rated PG but this is still something that you can put in with your kids and not have to worry about what they are seeing. This is a perfect example of how excellent a movie can be simply by using the best actors you can find and having a great idea. No special effects or nudity or swearing. What a strange idea. Overall, a superb family movie that I highly recommend. I give it an A.

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26 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

Pure Gold

Author: (bob-rutzel-1) from United States
10 November 2012

Wheelchair bound curmudgeon and heavy drinker Monte Wildhorn (Morgan Freeman), a writer of western stories house-sits for a friend in Belle Isle and softens considerably when he befriends single mother Charlotte O'Neil (Virginia Madsen) and her three children.

I don't remember liking a movie as much as this one since THE ASTRONAUT FARMER. The cast were perfect. The dialogues were spot on and very entertaining. The banter between Monte and 9-year old Finnegan O'Neil (Emma Fuhrmann) was pure gold and proved to be the beginnings of Monte softening his outlook on life. I wished that banter never ended. Like I said Pure Gold. Kudos to the writers.

This is indeed a feel good movie with a low key pacing and you never wanted it to end.

For starters we see curmudgeon Monte be bam-boozled into reading an obituary for someone he "didn't know;" getting a side-kick in Carl (Ash Christian) a somewhat special needs person; giving aspirin to Ringo, the dog (that he renames Spot) with stiff hind quarters; and helping Finnegan learn to write stories. All this sets the stage for everything that follows. And, everything that follows shows growth of all characters.

Sometimes like a big juicy cheeseburger you just "gotta have" you also "gotta see" a pure gold movie like this. (10/10)

FYI: Virginia Madsen was also in the Astronaut Farmer.

Violence: No. Sex: No. Nudity: No. Language: No.

Rating: A

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21 out of 26 people found the following review useful:

Don't you dare say you don't like Morgan Freeman! LOL.

Author: Oliver Rendchen from United Kingdom
20 October 2012

The Magic of Belle Isle, sounds a bit cheesy doesn't it? Well, it's not. It has a disabled Morgan Freeman who gives up on life until finding a single mother with three girls. You think it will be predictable but not as much as you think; I thought it had a really good story and enjoyed it the whole way through. I loved the humour in this movie because who doesn't like a good laugh and the jokes in this film will make anybody laugh. I like the ways the characters were brought out and some really good ones that taught you about life and stuff. So I really would recommend this to everyone as it is good family entertainment which you don't get to often, so forget the rubbish you're going to watch tonight and see The Magic of Belle Isle.

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17 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

Can't trust the critics on this one; the movie touched me

Author: JohnRayPeterson from Montreal, Canada
5 October 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Can't trust the critics on this one; consulting my usual sources, I found unexpectedly low ratings. How could this be, I asked myself. Well, I found this, Morgan Freeman in a movie directed and co-written by Rob Reiner, was suspiciously slanted. Perhaps the story was grossly uninteresting or unappealing. I wondered; I certainly didn't think so when I read the storyline. After viewing the movie, I can assure that's not the case. It's a beautiful story, thanks to inspired writing, great dialogue and impeccable delivery by talented performers and not in the least by splendid directing.

I'll grant one factor to critics, for their reason to underrate it; the ending is predictable. So what! Your favorite songs and books are some things you can listen to and read again, even if you know the outcome; that does not make it less good. If you want something unpredictable, watch 'The Skin I live In'. I was very surprised by that movie (one I liked for that reason), but I liked 'We Bought A Zoo' just as much, yet for the opposite reason; it is predictable, but the journey is the pleasure the movies provide the viewers, after all.

Morgan Freeman is as good as he was in his Oscar wining performance. It takes talent to make you believe a character who is a Beethoven loving cowboy writer drunk, one who speaks like the best novelists of any period. Guys… you may want to write some lines his character delivers to Virginia Madsen's character Charlotte; they are the kind to woo any woman with a pulse. Two of Charlotte's girls are adorable, much like Maggie Elizabeth Jones was in 'We Bought a Zoo'; she was so good, it takes those two girls of Charlotte to give you that same charmed feeling, but you will feel it. Madsen was the perfect fit for the role of Charlotte; she can still use her eyes like a magnet to steel, and that's a good thing. I recommend the movie without hesitation and screw the critics.

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16 out of 19 people found the following review useful:

Life is good.

Author: angelgodsheir from Paraguay
13 September 2012

I started watching this film without to many expectations even for a family drama, but as the story stars to develop you can tell this is going somewhere special and is definitely worthy of your time. This is the story of a writer on his winter days that goes to an island to spent the summer and discover that not everything may be lost. Without getting into to many details I can tell you Morgan Freeman is amazing as always, he delivers a beautiful performance and the rest of the cast is good as well. The script is fantastic, you can imagine your self in those situations and feel for the characters. The photography and the music is perfect and everything together leaves you with a taste of "Life is beautiful" in your mouth.

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18 out of 26 people found the following review useful:


Author: nightingaleron from Australia
9 July 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

my wife and i sat and watched this last night and were glued to the story throughout the whole film. Morgan Freeman plays an excellent role as the wheelchair bound crippled ex professional writer who is the innocent victim of a hit and run driver. The accident, obviously leaving him bitter and turning to the bottle. Trying to find solace on the Belle Isle, he meets his neighbor and her three children and things start to change as he uses his writing skills to teach one of them in particular to use her own imagination. The acting from the Mother and all 3 daughters is very good and i would not be surprised to see Freeman win an Oscar for his role. If you have not seen this movie, i highly recommend it.

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12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

A Writer Regains the Will to Live

Author: Chris_Pandolfi from Los Angeles, CA
6 July 2012

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Rob Reiner's "The Magic of Belle Isle" tells the story of a man who regains the will to live after entering the lives of a single mom and her three daughters. This is the kind of movie that divides audiences into two basic categories: Those that like sentimental dramas, and those that don't. I'm sure my opening description alone is enough for you to determine which category you fall into. For my money, the film is simple, well-intentioned, and good-hearted – flawed, yet protected and ultimately redeemed by its belief in second chances. Given the hardships of reality, the last thing we need is a movie that reminds us of them. What we really need is a movie that gives us reason to hope for something better. You may think I'm naïve, although I prefer to think of myself as open to possibilities.

The man at the center of the story is Monte Wildhorn (Morgan Freeman). As a young man, his athletic prospects were shattered when an accident robbed him of his ability to walk. He would go on to make a name for himself as a writer of western fiction, only to give up on it following the death of his beloved wife. Wheelchair bound, in his golden years, and having lost everything including his faith, he now spends his days downing bottles of alcohol and making acerbic remarks. An easy target is his nephew, Henry (Kenan Thompson), who made arrangements for Monte to housesit a small house during the summer in a quiet upstate New York lakeside town. Part of this involves taking care of an old dog, whose refusal to fetch a ball will be a running gag throughout the entire film.

In due time, Monte meets his next-door neighbor, the soon-to-be-divorced Charlotte O'Neil (Virginia Madsen), and her three daughters. There's the rebellious teenager, Willow (Madeline Carroll), who really just wants to spend time with her unseen father. There's the little one, Flora (Nicolette Pierini), whose main purpose is to look adorable. Finally, there's the middle child, Finnegan, a.k.a. Finn (Emma Fuhrmann), a tomboy who has a flair for making up outlandish stories and testing them on Flora. Despite her obvious gift, she's under the impression that she doesn't know how to be a writer, and so she appeals to Monte to be her mentor. Monte, of course, will initially come off as cantankerous before taking a liking to Finn, admiring her curiosity and determination.

Several things come of this initial encounter. Firstly, Monte and Charlotte take the first steps towards falling in love. Secondly, he's invited to attend a memorial service for a man he never met and is asked by the town mayor (Fred Willard) to deliver an already-written eulogy. This could, perhaps, be a lighthearted jab at Freeman's secondary career as a voice-over artist, but never mind. Thirdly, Finn will venture to Belle Isle, a tiny island in the middle of the lake, and retrieve a lunchbox full of her mother's school-age love letters. Monte will also befriend, as only he can, a mentally challenged man named Carl (Ash Christian), who hops rather than walks from one point to another. Finally, he will be inspired to start writing again; although his new stories are structurally and grammatically appropriate for Flora, it's obvious that the subtexts are aimed squarely at Charlotte.

Some time is reserved for a subplot involving Monte's agent, the delightfully named Joe Viola (Kevin Pollack), who's eager to get his client back in the game. More specifically, he wants Monte to sell the rights to one of his books to Hollywood. Repeated phone calls go unreturned for obvious reasons, and so Viola is forced to drop by unannounced. I can't help but wonder how necessary this aspect of the story was, given the fact that the real focus is the relationship Monte shares with Charlotte and Finn. However, I do think it would have worked had it been separated from "The Magic of Belle Isle" and expanded into its own feature-length film, one a little less emotional and family- friendly.

I grant you that the story is contrived and that specific characters, most notably Carl, are included primarily as foils for Monte as he undergoes emotional rehabilitation. What saves it, by my standards, was the fact that there was obviously no malicious intent on the part of Reiner or Guy Thomas, the screenwriter. The only questionable aspect of "The Magic of Belle Isle" is Monte educating Finn on how to be a writer. It's clear right from the start that she already knows what she's doing; to have her approach him and ask for guidance was forced and implausible. Apart from that, the film is no more or less that what it is, namely a harmless, feel-good story. While it may not win a spot on the shelf next to Reiner's more substantial films, it at least won't be mentioned in the same sentence with the year's worst films.

-- Chris Pandolfi (

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14 out of 20 people found the following review useful:

A Fine summer movie. Just what you would expect from Rob Reiner.

Author: scunnurt34 from United Kingdom
4 July 2012

Love and sharing can come in many forms. So too, growth and development. Reiner scores well touching all aspects of the good side of humans.

He also gives a complete picture of life seen through the simplistic eyes of children while allowing the complex world of adults be part of the story without taking any of the magic from childhood.

The cast is wonderful and I loved the strength, power, and insecurity of Morgan Freeman.

One again admires Reiner's ability to show complex stories through the strength of his actors rather than depending on CG and other cheap slight-of-hand fakery.

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