Belle (2014)

Belle (2014)

Belle (2014)

True story period drama, set in 18th-century Britain, about Dido Elizabeth Belle (rising star Gugu Mbatha-Raw) - the illegitimate mixed-race daughter of a Navy Admiral. As the years go on, Dido's social status wavers when her public image provokes tension among her peers... Co-stars two-time Oscar nominees Tom Wilkinson and Emily Watson.

"Fans of English period drama are accustomed to its gorgeous settings, social graces, and sophisticated language. But what's often missing from those adaptations of Jane Austen or the Brontës is the institution at the foundation of that refined life: slavery...  In late eighteenth century England, Belle is born to a white British admiral and a black Caribbean slave. The admiral's well-bred family is appalled, but when he returns to sea, custom dictates that they raise his child as an aristocrat. Britain's imposing Lord Mansfield (Wilkinson) is both Dido's uncle and the family patriarch, and instructs this biracial young woman to respect both the law and the social codes of her station. She is a lady, but an embarrassment." (Toronto International Film Festival)

2013Rating: PG, Mild themes104 minsUK
DramaTrue Story & BiographyHistorical

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Belle (2014) / Reviews

Flicks, Adam Fresco

Flicks, Adam Fresco

In a tale of 18th-century aristocratic English society so unlikely it could only be true, Belle, the illegitimate daughter of an English Naval officer and an African mother, is shipped to England to live with her father’s uncle, Lord Mansfield. Belle’s dark skin precludes her dining alongside her aristocratic kin, but that doesn’t stop her circulating after meals, generating shock and amusement as guests realise Lord and Lady Mansfield (delightfully played by Tom Wilkinson and Emily Watson), have a “mulatto” in their midst.

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Variety

Variety

Fascinating insights into the conflicted mindset of British society.

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Time Out

Time Out

The movie seems to exist to give its white characters belated moments of conscience.

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The Guardian

The Guardian

Tells Dido's extraordinary story in handsome, if formulaic, style.

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The Dissolve

The Dissolve

Belle is gorgeous, dazzling spectacle, replete with ornate costumes, lovely sets, and in Mbatha-Raw, a striking, charismatic lead.

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Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood Reporter

A handsome if uneasy blend of history and courtship drama.

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