Reviewed by: Andrea McAteer
second chances and starting over
coping with being disabled
Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer
What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer
Does God feel our pain? Answer
Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer
Morgan Freeman … Monte Wildhorn
Virginia Madsen … Mrs. O’Neil
Castle Rock Entertainment
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“a re-coming of age story”
“The Magic of Belle Isle” centers around Monte (Morgan Freeman), a washed up drunken author, who takes a job house-sitting for the summer. He’s a cranky man who is more interested in getting his next drink than he is in returning the calls of his agent.
The story unfolds in a rather predictable fashion. Monte is not interested in making friends, but people of the island are outgoing in nature, and, before he knows it, he’s invited to attend a funeral service and read a eulogy for a gentleman he never met. At the funeral, he meets an autistic young man who likes to hop like a bunny. When the mom asks if he could call her son, Carl, on the phone one day, just to make him happy, he says he has no use for the phone. But then he reviews his kind nature, as he calls Carl over and tells him he is his sidekick, but he must lose the bunny hop. It’s simple things like that that reveal Monte to have a bigger heart than he lets on.
Next door to where he is staying is a single mother Charlotte (Virginia Madsen) and her three young daughters. Young Finnegan (Emma Furmann) from next door wants Monte to teach her to write and strikes up what Monte sees as an unwelcome friendship. As the people in town continue to reach out to Monte, we see that his gruff manner hides an otherwise thoughtful man who lost his inspiration when his wife passed away. Monte begins to write again for Charolotte’s youngest daughter——short stories about an elephant and a mouse. As Charlotte reads them at bedtime, she senses that the elephant represents Monte, and she is the mouse, and she begins to realize there is a growing interest towards her.
Monte is confined to a wheelchair, but that’s almost like a side note. You feel more like there is an emotional pain and hurt dwelling in Monte, rather than noticing his physical disability. As with many people, that results in a tough exterior. Given time and kindness, you can often find the person underneath. It’s a beautiful thing to see as, over time, an individual lets walls come down and reciprocates with true friendship. God promises in Psalm 147:3 “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds” [curing their pains and sorrows.] Another beautiful passage is Psalm 34:18,
If you are broken-hearted, the Lord is there with you and near to you.
There is not a lot of objectionable content to mention. No nudity and the only thing close to violence involves Monte shooting a gun into the air to get everyone’s attention. There is some vulgarity. 4 uses of God’s name or Jesus in vain, 9 other swears mentioned, and one use of b**ch when speaking of a female dog. In addition, Monte calls his typewriter a black-hearted whore.
The story is a pleasant one that moves along like a gentle river. It’s a movie that slows the viewer down, rather than a frenetic, action-packed story that gets you all wound up. If you are looking for a nice movie about second chances and starting over, this is a good one. Sit back with a bowl of popcorn, put up your feet and enjoy.
Violence: Mild / Profanity: Mild / Sex/Nudity: None
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.