Sometimes dying is a great way to overcome writing blocks, and this appears to be true for the much admired actor Morgan Freeman, who was recently survived a widespread social media death hoax. Following his resurrection, he starred in The Magic of Belle Isle as a bitter, lonely, paralyzed, writer of westerns, who now finds solace in bourbon while his typewriter lies fallow on his desk.
Like many a writing block movie protagonist, Morgan was once the toast of the literary establishment, but he’s since lost his mojo, and now has only has 90 movie minutes to get it back. He is blocked by grief over his wife’s death (not his) and has been wordlessly languishing for six years.
This reminded me of the famous American poet Robinson Jeffers who stopped writing and drank heavily for several years after his wife passed, then began writing again. In the Magic of Belle Isle, it’s Virginia Madsen, playing a single mother, and her three daughters who eventually work the magic and resuscitate Morgan’s writing.
One strategy for kick starting your writing is to help another writer, and Morgan does this for one of the daughters who wants to learn about telling stories. His number two strategy is falling in love with a divorced mother of three, who is decades his junior, and this works pretty well too. Sadly, however, he moves away, but happily, he predictably returns and guess what; now he’s writing up a storm and getting together with Virginia.
This movie is pretty slow and very tame. You can follow it and write at the same time, and safely watch it before bed and have no trouble falling asleep. You might even fall asleep while watching it. In addition to a budding romance and a writing renaissance, the happy ending also includes Morgan swapping out his ancient typewriter for a shiny new Macbook.