The Magic Of Belle Isle

                               Morgan Freeman and Virginia Madsen are, in my own humble opinion two of the most talented,natural and versatile actors of both film and television. They’ve never let their enormous star power potential get the best of them. At the same time, their characterizations are able to boldly touch on some of the most emotionally significant elements of the human experience. This has been an age of motion pictures very firmly delegated into categories oftentimes having baring mainly on a particular demographic of age, race and gender. Stories that actually speak to the broad wealth of different human emotions and lifestyles come few and far between. And if they do, they tend to possess a great deal of cliches. Directed by Rob Reiner The Magic Of Belle Isle  is a film that actually reinvigorates that genre of character based motion picture with a broader minded perspective.

This is the story of Morgan Freeman’s Monte Wildhorn, a disabled former Western writer with a drinking problem and despondent over the death of his wife and Charlotte O’Neill, a newly divorced mother of three who meet each other by chance while they summer in the Belle Isle lake region.  Charlotte has three daughters,the middle one being Finnegan who,by chance encounters Wildhorn at a funereal for a fallen local. Together she,Wildhorn and a mentally challenged local named Carl Koop all engage on a study of imaginative thinking from Wildhorn. As Charlotte develops a deep friendship with the writer, the three O’Neill sisters Willow,Finnegan and Flora all inspired Wildhorn back to writing again even when different professionals could not. And even inspire him to make a decision to settle down in a somewhat unexpected place in the end.

Morgan Freeman’s Monte Wildhorn states the theme of this movie perfectly;”don’t stop looking for what’s not there”,as very much the key for imagining both stories and new possibilities for life. At the same time, the main appeal of this movie is the visual and dialog nuances. Freeman’s Wildhorn character is the epitome of the silent generation African American creative minded individual-filled with highly regal and dignified dialog and often able to say just as much with his facial expression as well. Virginia Madsen’s Charlotte O’Neill’s character is actually very similar-raising and disciplining her daughters with an emphasis on education and self respect as opposed to anger and violence. Though these characters all begin the story somewhat tormented, it is their intelligence, kindness and above all dignified civility towards one another that brings out the ultimate positive qualities of this genuinely charming and heartwarming film.