Belle is inspired by the true story of Dido Elizabeth Belle (Gugu Mbatha-Raw), the illegitimate mixed race daughter of a Royal Navy Admiral. Raised by her aristocratic great-uncle Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and his wife (Emily Watson), Belle’s lineage affords her certain privileges, yet the color of her skin prevents her from fully participating in the traditions of her social standing. Left to wonder if she will ever find love, Belle falls for an idealistic young vicar’s son bent on change who, with her help, shapes Lord Mansfield’s role as Lord Chief Justice to end slavery in England.
This is not a review, rather quick musings on a film I enjoyed and would suggest.
This is really solid film that certainly should have received some awards recognition considering how head over heels many academy and union voters are over British films though it seems there are certain qualities that must be met for that type of consideration. I'll refrain from going further into that.
Gugu Mbatha-Raw delivered an excellent performance and to say this was engaging (to me at least) would be an understatement. Not many films highlight let alone mention or allude to the fact that "Great" Britain had their hands deep in slavery and the slave trade which is odd but, nowhere near surprising, it was good to see the complexity behind the issues Dido Elizabeth Belle had to deal with, a person of whom I essentially knew nothing about.
This film has a well rounded cast and Tom Wilkinson delivers as he usually does, though Gugu's performance was great in every possible way, the lack of recognition certainly doesn't take away from the quality she put on display, though it's painfully obvious she was more deserving based on her performance than those that were nominated. One line that stuck out to me that I continue to think about I'm certain resonates with many to an extent though in a slightly different context;
"Papa, how can I be too high in rank to dine with the servants and too low to dine with my family?" - Belle
Instead of continuing on the cycle of unlimited praises I could give of this film I'll simply suggest you rent it on iTunes, Amazon Prime, or Google Play. And to read a pdf copy of the screenplay simply click here.