Isle of Hope (2024) Review

By Allison Rose   X Formly Known as Twitter
3 Min Read

Diane Ladd is a national treasure, and her grace and beauty are on full-display.

Isle of Hope (2024) Review

Omar Romay (Pregnant and Alone) is a television series and film producer who was born in the mid-1950s in Buenos Aires.  Fifty years later he came across a one-woman play written by Argentinian actor/author Oscar Martínez called Dias Contador (Days Counted).  He liked the play so much, that he gave it to his television director son, Damián, who wrote a screenplay that eventually became the film Isle of Hope.  Starring Diane Ladd (Wild at Heart), and Mary Stuart Masterson (Benny and Joon), the movie worked its way through the international film festival circuit before landing in theaters this coming Friday, February 23, 2024.

Victoria (Masterson) is a no-nonsense, college professor who tells it like it is.  She is divorced and has strained relationships with both her mother, Carmen (Ladd), and her daughter, Eleonor (newcomer Jessica Lynn Wallace). Much of Victoria's bitterness, especially towards her famous actress mother, comes from her failure as a writer and the manuscript Carmen put an end to years earlier.  

However, when her mother has a stroke and suffers a kind of amnesia making her think it is 15 years earlier, Victoria must indulge Carmen until she recovers.  Enlisting the help of her psychiatrist brother, William (Sam Robards; American Beauty), and her ex-husband, Andrew (Andrew McCarthy; Weekend at Bernie's), Carmen inadvertently opens old wounds Victoria thought had been long since closed.

Isle of Hope marks director Damían Romay's transition from television to feature films and if this movie is any indication, he has a ripe future in the world of cinema.  His adapted screenplay of Martínez's work is insightful and compelling and the sensitive way he handles the subject matter shows his understanding of the nature of the relationships the story reveals.  Romay gradually rips open the fleshy meat of the story making the audience remember their anguish as painful memories and regrets.

Once Romay was able to secure Ladd in the role of Carmen, the other cast members came on board quickly. Masterson brings a coldness to Victoria that makes her practical in almost everything.  She doesn't over emote which makes her a great casting choice is that is exactly who Victoria should be. She and McCarthy have an aloof yet comfy chemistry which one might expect from a divorced couple. Robards also plays William with the same pragmatism that Victoria possesses but lets his emotions out more freely than his sister.  Ladd is a national treasure and her grace and beauty are on full display.  The cast has terrific chemistry all around, making it easy to think they are a dysfunctional unit.

If you drive ten miles south on the Harry S. Truman Parkway from Savannah, Georgia, you will hit Isle of Hope.  Yes, it is a real place.  Originally established in the 1840s as a summer retreat, it has the picturesque homes and southern charm one tends to expect from Peach State.  Therefore, it should come as no surprise that the film was shot in and around Savannah. From the beautiful surroundings to the tax breaks for movie shoots, Georgia offers so much including the perfect backdrop for a story about an elderly southern woman trying to live out her life gracefully.

In Isle of Hope Romay tackles tough subject matter delicately. From caring for an elderly parent to navigating the complicated parent/child relationship, he strips away the pretty outer shell so many of us use to hide the pain underneath.  He uses humor, grace, exasperating honesty, and a gentle touch, when necessary, to teach us all a lesson we should have learned a long time ago.

One of the biggest takeaways from Isle of Hope...Never let things be left unsaid or you may regret it once it is too late. Romay uses this poignant film to say just that and, believe me, he gets the point across masterfully.

Grade: A-

Directed By:
MPAA Rating: NR
Running Time: 96 minutes
Distributed By: Aventura Entertainment

For more information about Isle of Hope visit the FlickDirect Movie Database. For more reviews by Allison Rose please click here.

Isle of Hope images are courtesy of Aventura Entertainment. All Rights Reserved.

FlickDirect, Allison   Rose

Allison Rose, a Senior Correspondent and Critic at FlickDirect, is a dynamic presence in the entertainment industry with a communications degree from Hofstra University. She brings her film expertise to KRMS News/Talk 97.5 FM and broadcast television, and is recognized as a Tomatometer-Approved Critic. Her role as an adept event moderator in various entertainment industry forums underscores her versatility. Her affiliations with SEFCA, the Florida Film Critics Circle, and the Online Film Critics Society highlight her as an influential figure in film criticism and media.


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