The illegitimate, mixed-race daughter (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) of a British admiral plays an important role in the campaign to abolish slavery in England.
Release Date: May 02, 2014
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An obscure historical footnote, short on facts but rich in significance, struggles to emerge from the décor, costumes, architecture, and landscapes of director Amma Asante’s suffocatingly tasteful period picture. “Belle” has the pace and sumptuous cinematography of a Merchant and Ivory production, but none of their memorable characters, subtle performances, or literate dialogue.
"Belle has a great, relatively unsung historical truth to tell. Its makers have chosen to illustrate that story prettily, rather than dramatize it three-dimensionally. But the cast brings the illustrations to life whenever and however they can.
The movie packs a lot in, and the quick pace of early scenes can feel like running on a treadmill, but “Belle” settles into a nice rhythm. It ends up having all the requisites of a period drama — a strings-heavy soundtrack, lavish costumes and passionate declarations of love — plus a good deal more.
Parents need to know that Belle is a deeply affecting, fascinating drama that brings to light a true story about a mixed-race woman -- the illegitimate daughter of a British admiral in the late 1700s -- who becomes an activist (and a worthy role model!) by educating herself and her uncle on the perils of the slave trade. Though the movie has no curse words and no overtly sexual situations (there's one kiss), the subject matter is complex and perhaps too heavy for very young kids. But older kids, tweens, and teens would do well to see it, as it explores issues of race and gender equality with sensitivity and grace. There's much to learn here from the struggles of 18th-century England, with lessons still applicable today.
Writer Misan Sagay, director Amma Asante, and actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw have created a film of exceptional understanding, honoring the life of the real-life woman who inspired the story with intelligence, sensitivity, and insight that illuminate her time and our own... See Full ReviewMay 8th, 2014 · Details
BELLE is a very fine period piece that will keep viewers entertained throughout. BELLE is a wonderful movie that has both romance and historical importance. Extremely well produced, the story and movie is right up there with the works of Jane Austin. Belle has beautiful costuming and set design. The acting is excellent, especially from Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who plays the lead character, Dido. Best of all, BELLE has a strong Christian, moral, inspiring worldview. Viewers will cry and be enthralled with the story of BELLE... See Full Review
A handsome period piece with hints of Jane Austen and the polish of Downton Abbey, Belle is more than just a sumptuous romance... See Full Review
Beautifully cast, touchingly played and handsomely mounted, “Belle” is as close to perfect as any costumed romance has a right to be. This is a story Austen herself would have been proud to claim as one of her own, if polite young ladies ever talked of such things in polite company. And in its heartbreaking young star, the movies have a glorious new feminine ideal, as bedroom-eyed heart breaker or wide-eyed innocent, and an English Rose for the new millennium... See Full ReviewApril 30th, 2014 · Details