Parents' Guide to

The Magic of Belle Isle

By Sandie Angulo Chen, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

Family drama has syrupy plot but fabulous performances.

Movie PG 2012 109 minutes
The Magic of Belle Isle Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 12+

Based on 1 parent review

age 12+

Hard to pass on this one. Sweet family movie with caution.

Okay, This movie is one that has a great message, the parent in it shows a great role model for her children and the ones watching and for the parents watching. Morgan comes in with the ability to help the middle child find her imagination and gives him his want to live again. The children seem to have the respect for their parent. However, the mother is going through a divorce (The "ex" husband never appears. This leaves room for the mom to show interest in Monty (Mr. Wildhorn) and never making it inappropriate to show mom going on with her life.) and there is some frustration shown when he chooses not to be there for the children. But she tries not to put her troubles on the children. The unfortunate items in the movie are Morgan Freeman's drinking (only seen as a sleepy drunk one time and at others he just seems tired) not a whole lot of consumption but he does show how an alcoholic will even drink the drop left from the bottle in the garbage can, there is some foul language (which went over my child's head, Pheww) some that is quite harsh. But beyond that this is a really great feel good movie.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (1):
Kids say (1):

Anyone who can't stand feel-good, sentimental family films should stay far, far away from THE MAGIC OF BELLE ISLE. This is the sort of sugary-sweet drama that would be at home on the Hallmark Channel. Freeman is fabulous, and he's pitch-perfect spouting off Monte's saltier comments -- like his reply to his nephew (Kenan Thompson) about why he doesn't write anymore: "Drinking is a demanding profession, and I can't hold two jobs at once." It's rare to see Freeman in a true leading role, and he doesn't disappoint because he's just that good. There's a reason so many documentaries and commercials pay him to narrate: His voice is an amazing blend of gravitas and comfort.

Madsen is also in her element as the beautiful mother next door trying to exorcise her marital problems in the idyllic summer retreat of her youth. While her daughters each have their issues, Monte becomes a mentor and friend to all of them, particularly aspiring writer Finn. Young Fuhrmann holds her own in her many scenes with Freeman. Although Reiner allows the movie to dive too far into the pool of sentimentality, there's nothing wrong with a corny but lovable drama every once in a while. And if kids learn that the AARP crowd has a lot to offer them, even better.

Movie Details

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