Rob Reiner has been responsible for directing a number of films that have been deemed inspirational. They aren’t always award-winning, but you can bet they are heartfelt and a joy to watch just for the heck of it. “The Magic of Belle Isle” is another inspirational flick that while it may seem lengthy, creates hope to people who have lost hope.
Morgan Freemen stars in this film as Monte Wildhorn, a man who has lost his wife to cancer and gave up his career as an author to a devotion to alcoholism. Even though he has given up writing, it is clear to the audience that the man still has the imagination and creativity of a writer in the way he chooses to speak with such elegance that one would expect Morgan Freeman to speak in narration form. He watches over his nephew’s (Keenan Thompson) home and dog, and comes into contact with his neighbor Charlotte (Virginia Madsen), and her three daughters.
He becomes attached to the family when the middle daughter Finnegan (Emma Fuhrmann) asks for his mentorship in the ways of imagination. As the film progresses, he gives up his drinking when he becomes reacquainted with his own imagination and love for the family.
We have seen similar stories of a lost soul coming to terms of his loss with the mentoring of a young child in the hopes of one day becoming an author. One film comes to mind starring Mel Gibson called “The Man Without a Face“. Both films have similar aspects and respected dissimilar aspects that make the films a unique entity. Both films are heartwarming and inspiring.
Morgan Freeman has previously worked with Rob Reiner on “The Bucket List“, another film in which he does an outstanding job in. Freeman has continually shown his excellence in a wide range of films over the years, and his performance as Monte in this film is no exception. All of the actors and characters in this film are very well performed, and believable.
The only negative thing to say about this film is that while this film is slightly under two hours, it begins to feel longer as the film drags on and seems to lack the substantial glue to hold the viewers’ attention. For the most part, this may not be true, but there may be parts of the film that would have worked out better as a deleted scene.
That being said, the film is an inspiration for people who believe they lead an unimportant lifestyle, or think they have reached rock bottom with no hope for recovery. “The Magic of Belle Isle” comes to DVD and Blu-Ray on Sept. 18!