Starring Morgan Freeman and Virginia Madsen
Directed by Rob Reiner
If you need a reason to smile try this sleeper of a movie. The Magic of Belle Isle is one of Academy Winner Morgan Freeman’s best feel-good performances.
Freeman plays Monte Wildhorn, a grumpy wheelchair-bound author of best-selling Western novels, who hasn’t written in years. Widowed and lonely, his only friend his booze, he agrees to house-sit for the summer. The house sits on a pristine lake on Belle Isle and comes with a resident dog, a white retriever, Monte names “Spot.”
Despite his cantankerous behavior Monte draws the affections of neighbor Charlotte O’Neill (Virginia Madsen) and her three daughters. Emma Fuhrmann plays the middle daughter, nine-year-old, Finnegan. She attaches herself to Monte and begs, pleads, and even scrapes together a few dollars to pay for writing lessons. Monte reluctantly agrees. And it is through his eyes that they both find the magic of life. Monte teaches Finnegan how to draw on her imagination and in teaching her he rediscovers what he has lost.
“Most times real life doesn’t measure up to what’s in our heads, but every now and then it comes pretty close.”
As Monte slows up his rantings, stops his drinking, and becomes a part of the O’Neill’s life we share his climb back into the happy-saddle. Or as Monte puts it when describing Charlotte to Spot during a man-to-dog chat, “That lady has a way that makes me sit taller in the saddle.”
If you want to feel good, pop a smile on your face, and a song in your heart…
Try The Magic of Belle Isle.
P.S. As an Amazon Prime Member I was able to stream this movie for free.