A love story and the value of being honest to yourself is what Belle is about. This movie transports you to the 1700s England. Based on the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle "Belle", this tale is about a young mulato girl named Belle that is brought into her father's house and caretaker of her great-uncle Lord Mansfield a honorable Chief Judge and wife. Belle has all the rights and privileges of upper society but her face reflects her slave mother and the prevailing social prejudice keeps her from being totally accepted into the formal social circles. At the same time, she <more>
befriends her cousin, who she considers a sister and is also given residence to this estate after her mother dies and her father abandons her. This story is beautifully layered with the issues of equality and slavery but is not preachy. It merely shows how the matters of the heart can't be prevented by the color of your skin. This coming of age story is masterfully told. I saw this film as part of the Atlanta Film Festival.
Mesmerizing and romantic true story (by authorsyriejames)
I just saw an advance screening of BELLE--and I absolutely loved it. The dialog, directing, performances, costumes, locations, and cinematography were all fabulous. It's based on the mesmerizing and romantic true story of the beautiful, intelligent, mixed race daughter of an admiral, who was raised in Georgian England by her aristocratic great-uncle and his wife. The script hits all the right notes as Belle struggles to find her place in a society that doesn't quite accept her, and with the help of an idealistic young vicar's son Sam Reid-- fantastic , influences an important <more>
anti-slavery case. Congratulations to director Amma Asante and writer Misan Sagay for bringing this story vividly to life on the screen. Gugu Mbatha-Raw was luminous as Dido Belle, and I think Tom Wilkinson gave the best role of his career. Both are Oscar-worthy performances. The film is highly recommended.
This movie is most likely not playing at a theater near you, but it is so worth traveling to see. The acting was superb! I don't remember a movie in recent times that I enjoyed so much. The story touched my heart as a person of mixed African descent. It showed how then and now too much emphasis is placed on skin color. It showcased people both white and black that were willing to stand up for what is right. I don't find this kind of movie to be controversial as it will do so much to enlighten people to historical facts that cannot be denied.The costumes were so beautiful and some <more>
were on display at the Landmark Theater in Los Angeles. The audience clapped and cheered at the end of the movie and were raving about the movie as they left the theater.
I saw this film at the San Francisco International Film Festival. I don't usually see two films in one day and was tired after already seeing another film, but Belle woke me up. I really enjoyed it. This film would have been OK as a total fiction but given that it was based on a true story, I found it fascinating. Set in England in the late 1700's, it shows the impact of the slave trade on society. The patriarch of the family is a justice of the High Court of England and takes on an important case regarding a slave trading ship while confronting the reality of limitations faced by his <more>
mulatto niece. It shows that when someone becomes part of your family, and you love that person, it changes your perspective on cultural norms. This film has prompted me to look into the history of the actual legal case involved. The film also showed the similarities between his white and mulatto nieces: as women both had a price on their heads and suffered due to their "place" in that society beneath men... This film showed that while much has changed, many attitudes have not changed in 300 years... The two brothers who court the nieces could have come from any current film if they just updated their styles of clothes, hair, and accents.
I'm a film lover who's encouraged to see a story that reveals a piece of the history so often ignored. "Belle" is based on a true story. Since the history of slavery is not taught, films that deal with it - when done well - can be not only entertaining but also instructive. We need these stories! "Belle" is surprising, a piece in the grand puzzle of the history of the slave trade and its impact on the lives of all manner of people. Tom Wilkinson is as always wonderful... The other actors are all just fine. Gugu is lovely as Dido. The hypocrisy of the British upper <more>
class is on full display. The Zong Slave ship case is threaded through this film and opens another door on the horrors of the slave trade. That case alone deserves its own film but it would probably be too horrible to watch! I was reminded of all the pained experiences black children endured as they attempted to integrate public schools. The insults and denigration, the racist assumptions hurled at these students were nightmarish. Being the only black person in a sea of whites to this day can be challenging. "Belle" allows us to see and to imagine what that was like in England in the late 1700's. "Belle" was a blood relative and still she could not sit at the dinner table if guests were dining. There's much to learn here, much to think about.
I wanted to see this movie because it is a period piece. I did not know that it is based on a true story . I loved the settings, the costumes, the writing and the acting. A well written story of the start of the road to abolishing slavery in England. The Story of DIdo - the caring aunt and uncle who took her under their roof, the other niece who they are raising also and how she develops into a beautiful and very smart lady. I'm sure the reactions by the people at that time were presented accurately. Dido was not allowed to eat with company but could with just the family. The courting of <more>
the women when they were of that age was interesting to watch and the conniving by the mother of the two -oh so different men in the name of wanting more money to come from the women. I especially like the intelligence of Dido and how it came out in the age of when women were not to be involved in politics or anything other than the home. A beautifully photographed film.
In years hence, audiences will be able to point to this film, as the moment the world knew Gugu Mbatha-Raw was going to be big. Belle is Amma Asante's feature-length directorial debut, and her work here is astonishingly confident. Tackling a period piece may seem daunting to most, but in Asante's case, she has the benefit of a top-notch cast, and a truly fascinating story. Loosely based on the story of Dido Elizabeth Belle, Dido was the daughter of an enslaved African woman and an English admiral.As the film begins, although she is born illegitimate, Dido's father Matthew Goode, <more>
Stoker gives her over into the care of his great-uncle, William Murray, the first Earl of Mansfield Tom Wilkinson , who acts as the Lord Chief Justice of the British courts. As she grows into a young woman, Dido's life at the palatial estate of Kenwood is full of mixed blessings. While her uncle and aunt Emily Watson, Breaking the Waves treat her as if she were their own—they raise her alongside their other niece, Elizabeth Murray Sarah Gadon, A Dangerous Method —social conventions of eighteenth century society are immovable; no matter how much they love her, Dido feels the sting of being forced to eat with the servants, when company comes calling.The greatness of the film comes in its intricate plotting, and in the parallels drawn between gender and race. Author Jane Austen dealt with the position of women in English society through the use of dry humor—though the rage at a young woman being forced into marriage in order to secure a safe future was always very much present. In Belle however, there is no satire to soften the blow. As Elizabeth comes out, venturing to London in search of a husband, she points out to Belle the inherent unfairness of a system that allows women to be treated as male property. Dido doesn't necessarily have the problem of a search for a husband, as the inheritance of her father's fortune ensures that she is financially secure; but for a radiant young woman in the prime of her life, her uncle's insistence on keeping her out of sight understandably rankles her.Matters are complicated by the arrival of John Davinier Sam Reid , the son of a local clergyman. Ambitious and wide-eyed, John wants to try to rise in station, training with Lord Mansfied to become a lawyer. His outspoken, radically abolitionist views on a notorious legal case Lord Mansfield is trying annoy the Lord considerably; but he rouses all the passionate feeling in Dido that she has been forced for so long to suppress.As Lord Mansfield, Wilkinson Batman Begins, Michael Clayton plays the exasperated father figure with the correct touches of humor and warmth. As a judge, he projects the inner conflicts of a man with the weight of the entire economic system on his shoulders; you can see him try to deflect from the strong-arming of local politicians, who want to ensure that the presence of the "mulatto" in his house will not affect his ruling on the case. As Elizabeth, Gadon takes what could have been a very stereotypical role of the flighty, romantic English girl, and brings a deep sense of hurt to it. Having been left with her uncle after her new stepmother successfully wrote her out of her father's will, Elizabeth's cheery exterior hides an emotionally hurt young girl.And finally, there is Mbatha-Raw. As Dido, the engine that drives the film, you may deeply feel her two-fold frustration as a woman, and as a person of color. You will be carried away by her passion—her belief that things should not remain the same. On a more general level, the camera absolutely adores her. She moves and projects with a vitality and ease that forces one to stop at several points. Her characterization and her performance are so accomplished, that her independent-minded heroine could stand toe-to-toe with the multiple incarnations of Jane Austen's Elizabeth Bennett. If Belle is any indication, and if there is any fairness in this world, there should be more great things to come from her.-Nick Kostopoulos - See more at: http://www.mediumraretv.org
Although "Belle" tells a highly fictionalised account of her life, Dido Elizabeth Belle Lindsay was a real person. She was the illegitimate daughter of a British naval officer and a black slave. Unlike many children born in similar circumstances, however, she was fortunate in that her father acknowledged her and paid for her keep. When her mother died, her father brought her from the West Indies to England and entrusted her to the care of uncle, Lord Mansfield, who just happened to be the Lord Chief Justice. When her father died she inherited his fortune, making her a desirable <more>
heiress. This is essentially a Jane Austen story, set a generation earlier and with a racial element thrown in. The film centres on Dido's emotional relationships. She is sought in marriage by Oliver Ashford, the younger son of an aristocratic family, but his interest is largely financial and the match is fiercely opposed by his mother and his elder brother, both of whom object to the idea of a mixed-race woman marrying into their family. The great love of her life is John Davinier, a clergyman's son, an aspiring lawyer and an ardent anti-slavery campaigner. At her uncle's stately home Kenwood House, Dido is placed in a strange and anomalous position. By reason of her fortune she is an insider, part of England's establishment; Mansfield even worries that, because of the disparity in their financial positions she might be "marrying beneath herself" if she accepts John. Her race and her illegitimacy, however, make her an outsider. She is allowed to dine with the family when they are alone, but is forced to eat separately when they have guests who might be upset by the sight of a black face. Her position contrasts strangely with that of her cousin and close friend Lady Elizabeth Murray, another niece and ward of Lord Mansfield. Elizabeth is legitimate, but has no fortune of her own, having been virtually disowned by her father under the influence of his second wife. Yet because she is white there can be no question of Elizabeth having to dine apart from the family. Set against the love of Dido and John is a subplot about what became known as the "Zong case". When sickness broke out on a slave ship, the captain ordered the crew to throw the slaves overboard. When the insurance company refused to compensate the ship-owners for their losses, the owners sued. Lord Mansfield was the judge who heard the case in the Court of King's Bench.Tom Wilkinson has given a number of fine performances in recent British films and sometimes in Hollywood too , and this is one of his best. In his dealings with Dido, whom he loves dearly, Mansfield is torn between his inner decency and the need to conform to the social proprieties of the period. In legal matters he is equally torn between the demands of the law and those of justice, which is not always the same thing. In the "Zong" case he is well aware that, in refusing to pay out on the policy the insurers are motivated by commercial considerations, not humanitarian ones; if they had any humanitarian feelings they would not have become involved in facilitating the slave trade in the first place. Nevertheless, he is equally well aware that a decision against the ship- owners will be seen as a victory for the growing anti-slavery movement and a step on the road to the abolition of the slave trade. Other good performances come from newcomer Gugu Mbatha-Raw in the leading role, Penelope Wilton as Lord Mansfield's sister and Sam Reid as John. The film has something in common with "Amazing Grace", another film about the abolitionist movement; both tend to suggest that the fight against slavery was something waged by upper-class people in wigs sitting in elegant Georgian drawing-rooms, although "Belle" does at least put a black character at centre stage. Dido, moreover, would have known about the horrors of slavery through personal experience, whereas the likes of John Davinier and Lord Mansfield only know about them at second hand. For this reason I would have liked to see more about Dido's childhood in the West Indies before the death of her mother. As one might expect of a British costume drama, "Belle" is visually attractive, but it is more than a mere pretty face. The "heritage cinema" genre is sometimes dismissed as a mere exercise in sentimental nostalgia, but it can be much more than that. It can also be as in much of the work of Merchant-Ivory a vehicle for exploring significant issues, and in this case manages to explore the questions of race, social class, compassion, justice and freedom. As Lord Mansfield put it, "Fiat justitia, ruat caelum". Let justice be done though the heavens fall. 8/10
.. have your kids watch.. it's important (by bjarias)
It's a very good film.. well cast, acted, and produced. And it's an important film. Certain movies should be on the curriculum for viewing at home or school.. for they show pertinent, meaningful history, in a much more impacting way than just being 'instructed/ lectured' in a classroom. They open up dialogue, with a hope that better understanding between people can be achieved. We have issues.. big issues, that have been around for a very long time now, and although we talk a good game, underlying is this tension that is always present. Everyone says education is the <more>
solution.. yet here we are at the supposed 'pinnacle' of our civilization.. and yet how far have we truly come.