Ascent 218 – Magic of Belle Isle

BelleIslAfter watching the Olympics opening ceremonies and the parade of nations, we wanted to watch something comedic.

A quick perusal on Amazon Prime yielded a movie I hadn’t heard of – The Magic of Belle Isle. It had 4 stars and Morgan Freeman as the headliner. The decision was made.

The movie depicts the story of a depressed, sardonic, wheelchair bound author (Monte Wildhorn) who is determined to drown the remainder of his existence with whiskey. He’s ardently holding the position of ex-writer as his passion for that went when his wife died. He moved into a summer home on Belle Isle where he attempts to proceed that plan.

Next door is single mother of 3 Charlotte O’Neill, played by Virginia Madsen. Her 3 girls, aged 7, 9 and 15 are struggling with her pending divorce and trying to make the best of life.

Monte’s companion in the house is a dog who is content with doing as little as possible and licking his parts when admonished. Monte’s conversations with the dog are hilarious and his eloquent sarcasm and verbosity is clearly not appreciated.

Things start to change when Charlotte’s middle daughter Finn – fearless and inquisitive – approaches Monte and begins to get to know him. She wants to be a writer and asks Monte to be her mentor. To which he reluctantly agrees and begins to give her daily lessons. One of the most significant was in imagination and the art of looking at something and seeing what’s not there.

Things start to change as the ongoing interactions start to bring all the characters into their best version of themselves. I won’t share more about the plot as I’m not into being a spoiler.


Morgan Freeman was, as always, phenomenal in his role and is capable of speaking volumes with just a facial expression.

This movie is a wonderful lighthearted exploration of various aspects of life and how there is always a bright side waiting to be discovered.

Never stop looking for what isn’t there.


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