Limited Theatrical Release – 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.
“Belle” is a remarkable and compelling drama, inspired by true events! Gugu Mbatha-Raw is terrific as Dido Elizabeth Belle, a woman that had a British Admiral for her father and a slave woman for her mother. Her father eventually goes overseas, never to return, and Dido’s mother dies. She goes to live with Lord Mansfield (Tom Wilkinson) and Lady Mansfield (Emily Watson), which allows her social privileges. She also inherits her father’s fortune. She eventually meets a young man named Oliver Ashford (James Norton) that takes a liking to her. However, Oliver’s brother is “repulsed” by the idea of his brother romancing a woman of mixed breeding.
The movie powerfully demonstrates that, despite her station in life, Dido still has prejudices and racial tensions to deal with in her social life which almost overwhelms her with frustration. “Belle” features breathtaking cinematography and top notch acting and a tight story. We are happy to award the film our Dove “Family-Approved” Seal for ages twelve plus. This period piece contains life situations and difficulties that are relatable to modern audiences. We are pleased that this movie has earned five Doves from us. Get to the theater soon to see it.